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On Monday, August 2, 2021, the leading healthcare providers across the State of Hawaii announced vaccination mandates. Kaiser was one of the organizations in support of this decision. This mandate was formulated without engaging HNHP and sidestepped utilizing the partnership process.
Simultaneously, KP also announced COVID vaccination mandates on a national level. Every union across Kaiser’s nationwide network was blindsided by management's unilateral decision. There was no prior notification, no collaboration, and no opportunity for negotiation prior to the announcement. Kaiser made decisions about vaccines without providing each of you, working on the frontlines of the pandemic and HNHP an opportunity to be part of this vital discussion.
Currently, there is bargaining happening at the national level among the Alliance unions (AHCU) and Kaiser. As a member union of the Alliance, HNHP will communicate the status of these negotiations as soon as we are updated. HNHP will also negotiate local logistics and details directly, here in Hawaii, once these national level negotiations are complete.
While vaccines have played a vital role in public health and HNHP supports safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines that will, at a minimum, decrease the number of people experiencing severe effects of the virus and ultimately saves countless lives. But as nurses, we also know, when it comes to healthcare decisions, forcing a mandate always sparks a controversy centered around trust. Fully informed decisions are at the heart of our everyday experience as healthcare professionals. This applies to vaccines as well as any work-related impacts to our members.
HNHP fully supports and encourages vaccinations as a way to decrease the transmission of COVID-19 within our membership and communities and HNHP supports our members' free choice as to whether to vaccinate or not.
Based on our frontline nurses and respiratory therapists experience battling the pandemic for more than a year, our members believe we must focus on education, informed consent, and access to healthcare and vaccination in Hawaii’s underserved and under-vaccinated communities, limiting everyone’s exposure by wearing well-fitting masks, maintaining social distancing, hand-washing, and improving ventilation in all workplaces and indoor spaces
After Kaiser’s new vaccine mandate was communicated last week, many of our HNHP members have reached out to us to express concerns regarding job security if they choose not to be vaccinated for medical or strongly held religious beliefs. We do not expect your vaccination status to impact your employment status as there is an option for declining to take the vaccine. Kaiser has indicated that those not vaccinated will be required to be routinely tested.
When our AHCU National negotiations regarding impacts of KP’s COVID vaccination mandate are resolved, we will share the agreement and FAQ’s. In the interim, please call us at (808)664-6364 or email email@example.com with your questions and concerns.