For our Kaiser members covered under the Alliance National Agreement and the Partnership with management, there is an appointed position that helps the bargaining units with added contract enforcement.
Contract Specialists are selected stewards who are on full or partial release from their regular positions for a term of one to two years, typically. This Labor Management Partnership role ensures that the Contract Specialist continues to draw their regular pay from Kaiser. The contract specialist role was implemented for three important reasons:
- To improve Partnership implementation at the facility and work-unit level.
- To build expertise and promote consistency in contract interpretation and implementation through Contract Specialists who partner with local HR Consultants.
- To build capacity through the development of many contract experts, including the contract specialists themselves and the stewards that they recruit and develop in their term as contract specialist.
Contract Specialists do not enter their term as experts in all things, but they should be advanced stewards committed to the ideals of partnership and solidarity. They must have a passion for contract enforcement, and become subject matter experts through mentoring by union and partnership leaders. They will advance their skills in grievance management, interest based problems solving, and the corrective action process; they will help other stewards advance their skills as well.
Contract Specialists interface with OFNHP members, OFNHP executive board and the Steward Delegate Assembly, as well as Kaiser management and HR. The role is guided by the National Agreement between Kaiser and Alliance Unions. Contract Specialists can flex to meet the current member and partnership needs during their time in the role, as directed by OFNHP. They are accountable to our union local.
Recruiting and mentoring new stewards is a core part of the Contract Specialist’s role. Contract Specialists are stewards themselves. When a Contract Specialist position opens up, any steward can apply. A final candidate will be selected by a committee of stewards headed by the bargaining-unit chair.
Each Kaiser bargaining unit should have the equivalent of 1 Full Time Equivalent (FTE) per 1200 members. In 2018, we made gains of 1.5 FTEs in contract specialists positions, ensuring more accessibility for our members and better workloads for our contract specialists. Our current contract specialists are listed here: http://ofnhp.aft.org/contract-specialists