New Alliance of KP Unions Picks Name, Hires Executive Director

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The Alliance of Health Care Unions (AHCU) announced its name today and its first hire: Executive Director Peter diCicco, founder and longtime Executive Director of the original Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions, from which the alliance unions withdrew last week.

“We’re excited that Peter’s joining us,” said Denise Duncan, RN, President of UNAC/UHCP. “There could be no more perfect choice. I was there when Peter first brought the unions at Kaiser into coalition and within a few years built a visionary labor-management partnership from the ground-up. He's tough, innovative, and his belief in what we’ve built through partnership over the last two decades is inspirational.”

Mr. diCicco founded the original Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions (CKPU) in 1997 and served as its first Executive Director from its inception through February 2006. He was a chief architect of the Labor-Management Partnership (LMP) between Kaiser and the coalition unions. He negotiated the first national agreement between the coalition and Kaiser in 2000. As Executive Director of the CKPU, he had overall responsibility for its strategies, direction and operation, including its national staff.

The trailblazing Labor-Management Partnership between Kaiser Permanente and the original coalition of unions was born as a response to financial difficulties faced by Kaiser during the 1990s. It drove innovation that improved the quality of health care, reflected in rising quality ratings for KP and increased affordability for patients. It’s the largest, longest-running and most comprehensive labor-management partnership in the United States, well-studied within academia while its innovations in integrated health care delivery have been widely adopted throughout the entire United States’ health care system.

“I feel like I’m coming home in joining the AHCU,” said diCicco. “But we’ve got our work cut out for us. We’re working to establish a new structure that builds on what worked best with the prior coalition, while addressing internal coalition issues that became obvious in recent years and ultimately drove the creation of this new Alliance.”

The AHCU is in the process of drafting a constitution and intends to formalize its structure within the next few weeks. The twenty-one unions of the Alliance include locals of AFSCME, UFCW, USW, IBT, KPNAA, IUOE, OFNHP (AFT), and ILWU. Together these local unions represent over 45,000 members across hundreds of job classifications in nearly every geographic area where Kaiser Permanente has a presence.

“I’m happy Peter has offered to help in this historic moment for the new Alliance,” said Adrienne Enghouse, Oregon Federation of Nurses and Healthcare Professionals (OFNHP, AFT Local 5017). “It was through Peter’s founding work that we were able to establish national standard-setting health care contracts and quality patient care while making KP the best place to work. I believe with Peter’s leadership the Alliance can reinvigorate our partnership.”

Mr. DiCicco’s most recent accomplishment in a career spanning decades in top positions within the labor movement was to help develop the terms of merger for SAG and AFTRA, two of the biggest entertainment talent unions, now SAG/AFTRA.

His union activity began in 1964 as a shop steward at GE in Lynn, Massachusetts, where he worked as a machinist, power generator assembler and aircraft engine inspector. Over the decades since he rose from Executive Board member with IUE Local 501 during a 103-day national strike in 1969-70 national strike, to International Vice President for the IUE in 1970 and President of the AFL-CIO’s Industrial Union Department (IUD) in 1996, before founding the CKPU the following year.

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The Alliance of Health Care Unions (AHCU) is comprised of 21 local unions in the following Kaiser Permanente operating regions: UNAC/UHCP (AFSCME), UFCW Locals 1167, 135, 1428, 1442, 324 and 770, USW Local 7600, IBT Local 166, KPNAA, and IUOE Local 501 in Southern California; HGEA (AFSCME) in Hawaii; UFCW Locals 27 and 400 in Mid-Atlantic; UFCW Local 7 and IUOE Local 1 in Colorado; OFNHP (AFT Local 5017), UFCW Local 555, and ILWU Local 28 in Northwest; UFCW Local 21 in Washington state; and UFCW Local 1996 in Georgia.