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Healing Together

The Labor-Management Partnership at Kaiser Permanente

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.

Author Information

KochanThomas A.:

Thomas A. Kochan is the George M. Bunker Professor of Management at MIT's Sloan School of Management. He is coeditor of Negotiations and Change and After Lean Production and coauthor with Saul A. Rubinstein of Learning from Saturn, all from Cornell.EatonAdrienne E.:

Adrienne E. Eaton is Associate Dean of the School of Management and Labor Relations and Associate Professor of Labor Studies and Employment Relations at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. She is the coauthor of Healing Together: The Labor-Management Partnership at Kaiser Permanente and coeditor of Employment Dispute Resolution and Worker Rights in the Changing Workplace, both from Cornell.McKersieRobert B.:

Robert McKersie is Sloan Fellows Professor of Management Emeritus at the Sloan School. He is coauthor of The Transformation of American Industrial Relations, from Cornell.


" 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

"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

Audience: General/trade;