August, John

John August is Executive Director for the Kaiser Permanente Labor Management Partnership.

100,000-member Union Coalition 'Strikes' at Major Health Care Foes: Obesity, Chronic Disease

By John August
Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions

Whoever thinks that labor unions are stuck in the past clearly isn’t following the trajectory of the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions. Our Coalition, which represents close to 100,000 workers at Kaiser Permanente medical centers, launched a new campaign this week that targets not a health care employer but a different type of foe: obesity and chronic disease. On Friday morning, more than 500 Coalition union members hit the streets of Hollywood with the message that we plan to use union organizing techniques to take aim at the causes of chronic disease. Our members talked to tourists, gave free blood pressure screenings at a senior center, held up signs that read “Health is a Union Issue,” and even danced to a Beyonce “Move Your Body” video in front of Hollywood’s famed Chinese Theater.

In a Sinking Economy -- How to Stay Focused

By John August
Kaiser Permanente Labor Management Partnership

Last week was just one of those weeks. Many people could not ignore economic news, despite the abstract way we talk about it that makes so many people feel powerless and intimidated.

The administration announced its “compromise.” Bush-era tax cuts, including those for the richest people in the country, would remain in effect for another two years. The president’s own party was in revolt. Why, many Democrats asked, is it necessary to allow hundreds of billions of dollars of additional debt to provide tax cuts to the people at the very top of the income scale?

The other side of the argument, of course, endorses “trickle-down” economics. That theory holds that if capital flows to the wealthiest, good jobs will be created.