Nurses pose on the lawn of the Permanente Oakland hospital during World War II.

Kaiser Permanente evolved from industrial health care programs for construction, shipyard and steel mill workers for the Kaiser industrial companies during the late 1930s and 1940s. And the Labor Management Partnership was born because we all recognized that by finding a better way to work together, we could create opportunities to grow membership, improve quality and make health care more affordable for everyone. And it worked! That’s why we remain one of the largest unionized workforces in the United States.

Milestones in Kaiser Permanente’s Labor History

1941 — At Henry J. Kaiser’s request, Sidney Garfield, MD, organizes prepaid health care for the largely unionized workforce at Kaiser-managed shipyards.

1945 — Kaiser Permanente health plan founded with support from the California Congress of Industrial Organizations and the American Federation of Labor’s Alameda County Central Labor Council.

1946 — Dr. Garfield signs the first union contract with Kaiser Permanente nurses, represented by the CIO-affiliated Nurses Guild.

1950 — Kaiser Permanente expands to Southern California when the International Longshore and Warehouse Union requests that the organization cover Los Angeles harbor workers.

1965 — Henry J. Kaiser receives the Murray-Green Award from the AFL-CIO, the first business leader recognized by the labor federation.

1969 — Kaiser Permanente expands east to Colorado with help from union leaders who want quality, affordable health care for union workers.

1995 — The Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions is formed by 27 local unions to better coordinate bargaining with Kaiser Permanente.

1997 — Kaiser Permanente’s Labor Management Partnership is established.

2000 — Kaiser Permanente and the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions reach a national labor agreement and agree to a five-year contract.

2005 — The new National Agreement between Kaiser Permanente and the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions includes, for the first time, joint marketing of Kaiser Permanente.

2010 — The 2010 National Agreement sets consistent, uniform criteria for assessing the performance of unit-based teams.

2012 — The 2012 National Agreement creates our Total Health Incentive Plan that builds on Kaiser Permanente’s strategy of supporting wellness at work.

2013 — Coalition unions contribute to the signing up of tens of thousands of new Kaiser Permanente members through the Affordable Care Act.

2015 — The 2015 National Agreement includes a jointly developed flu vaccination policy for health care workers who deal directly with patients.

2017 — Kaiser Permanente’s Labor Management Partnership reaches 150,000 members and celebrates its 20th anniversary.

For more information:
Kaiser Permanente’s Labor Management Partnership
A History of Total Health,” Kaiser Permanente’s history blog