Healing Together: The Labor-Management Partnership at Kaiser Permanente

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Kaiser Permanente is the largest managed care organization in the country. It also happens to have the largest and most complex labor-management partnership ever created in the United States. This book tells the story of that partnership-how it started, how it grew, who made it happen, and the lessons to be learned from its successes and complications. With twenty-seven unions and an organization as complex as 8.6-million-member Kaiser Permanente, establishing the partnership was not a simple task and maintaining it has proven to be extraordinarily challenging.

Thomas A. Kochan, Adrienne E. Eaton, Robert B. McKersie, and Paul S. Adler are among a team of researchers who have been tracking the evolution of the partnership between Kaiser Permanente and the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions ever since 2001. They review the history of health care labor relations and present a profile of Kaiser Permanente as it has developed over the years. They then delve into the partnership, discussing its achievements and struggles, including the negotiation of the most innovative collective bargaining agreements in the history of American labor relations. Healing Together concludes with an assessment of the Kaiser partnership's effect on the larger health care system and its implications for labor-management relations in other industries.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Healing Together is a story of organizational change . . . a fascinating case study of an unprecedented labor-management partnership forged at Kaiser Permanente . . . . The authors . . . provide a fast-paced, on-the-ground picture of the partnership story, offering nitty-gritty details and direct quotes from leaders and participants from both labor and management."— Kathleen Montgomery, Administrative Science Quarterly

"Healing Together is refreshing because it provides an even-handed account of labor-management partnership over more than a 10-year period, and addresses head-on many of the thorniest challenges associated with social partnership for managers, trade unions and employees. . . . It provides an insightful and highly readable account of the accomplishments and drawbacks of labor-management partnership at Kaiser. It will be of interest to a wide range of employment relations and health sector analysts as the U.S. continues to grapple with the challenges of reforming healthcare provision."— Stephen Bach, British Journal of Industrial Relations

"Healing Together tells the remarkable story of a decade-long labor-management partnership between Kaiser Permanente, one of the nation's first—and still largest—integrated health care systems, and its many unions. It is a tale filled with drama, as memorable individuals and complex coalitions take action before a compelling backdrop of institutions, interests, and initiatives. The authors provide wise insights into the many forces that conspire to undermine the labor-management partnership. Healing Together's clear-eyed view of the ever-present perils and potential payoffs for all parties makes this the most comprehensive and valuable account of labor-management innovation in years—and just in time, as the nation turns to the twin challenges of reforming both labor relations and health care."—John Paul MacDuffie, Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania

"Health care provision is often seen as an insurance problem or a technology problem. In Healing Together, the authors show that a key ingredient to effective health care delivery is the climate of labor-management relations andthey provide an admirable road map for achieving a sustainable, cooperative climate."—Daniel J. B. Mitchell, UCLA

"Scholars and practitioners of employment relations and health policy and administration are anxious to learn how the Kaiser Permanente partnership has performed and what it has accomplished since its inception. The authors of Healing Together provide an accurate, honest, thorough and compelling account of the partnership. Drawing on interviews with key players, surveys, and data collected by the KPP, the authors show how the partnership developed and functioned, where it succeeded and failed, and what can be learned from the experience."—Paul F. Clark, Pennsylvania State University

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Thomas A. Kochan is the George Maverick Bunker Professor of Management, Professor of Work and Employment Research and Engineering Systems, and Co-Director of the Sloan Institute for Work and Employment Research at MIT. He is coauthor of Labor Relations in a Globalizing World, Healing Together, Up in the Air, and The Transformation of American Industrial Relations, Second Edition, all from Cornell, and author or editor of many other books.

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