U.S. Markets open in 58 mins

Big health care strike avoided: Kaiser, unions reach contract agreement

James Leggate

Kaiser Permanente and a group of its employees' unions said they have reached a tentative contract agreement ahead of a planned strike.

The Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions’ more-than-80,000 members have yet to ratify the deal, which would avert a nationwide strike that had been scheduled to start on Oct. 14. The contract would cover workers in six states and the District of Columbia.

The deal would give workers annual pay increases through 2023 while maintaining their benefits, according to Kaiser Permanente. It would also create a program the medical company said would reduce the national shortage of health care workers.

Arlene Peasnall, Kaiser Permanente’s interim chief human resources officer, said the company “has an unparalleled track record of working constructively with labor” and working to align on common goals.

“We greatly respect and value our employees who deliver on our mission every day,” Peasnall said. “This agreement is a testament to the dedication, compassion and skill those employees bring to work every day and demonstrates that Kaiser Permanente and the Coalition have a shared commitment to affordability for our members.”

The agreement would also set a list of jobs that will not be outsourced or subcontracted, gives employees the opportunity to move into new training roles, offers employees additional travel reimbursement as part of a tuition reimbursement program and incentivizes employees to use a more efficient mail-order prescription service.

Georgette Bradford, an ultrasound technologist for Kaiser in California, said the agreement would allow union members to rebuild the worker-management partnership that has been important to all of the employees and in making Kaiser successful  during the past 20 years.

“Reaching an agreement was not easy, it had lots of twists and turns, but in the end, we accomplished what we set out to do: reach an agreement that is good for patients, workers and our communities,” Bradford said.


Related Articles