Kaiser Permanente, unions enter into a labor agreement to stave off strikes | MCU Times

Kaiser Permanente, unions enter into a labor agreement to stave off strikes

An alliance of unions representing 50,000 Kaiser Permanente workers in California, Oregon and six other states blew up a strike alert after concluding a preliminary work agreement Saturday with the health network.

The Alliance of Health Care Unions and Kaiser Permanente jointly announced the deal and averted a potentially crippling strike in which 32,000 workers, most of them in Southern California, threatened to leave the job next Monday to protest understaffing and pay cuts for new employees.

Kaiser Permanente

LOS ANGELES, CA – NOVEMBER 13: General views of the Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center on November 13, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by AaronP / Bauer-Griffin / GC Images) (AaronP / Bauer-Griffin / GC Images / Getty Images)

Additional members of the alliance, consisting of 21 local unions, approved a one-day “sympathy strike” on 18 November.

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The agreement on the four-year contract includes annual salary increases, while maintaining health benefits for employees, and new staff language to continue to protect employees and patients, the statement said.

“This agreement will mean that patients will continue to receive the best care and Alliance members will have the best jobs,” said Hal Ruddick, CEO of the Alliance. “This contract protects our patients, provides safe staffing and guarantees reasonable salaries and benefits to all Alliance members.”

Kaiser Permanente

HOLLYWOOD, CA – JANUARY 27: General Views of the Kaiser Permanente Hollywood Medial Offices on January 27, 2021 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by AaronP / Bauer-Griffin / GC Images) (AaronP / Bauer-Griffin / GC Images / Getty Images)

Christian Meisner, head of human resources at Kaiser Permanente, said the agreement “underscores our unwavering commitment to our employees by maintaining industry-leading wages and benefits.”

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Negotiations continue with the local units representing Kaiser pharmacists in Northern California and the Pacific Northwest, as well as a group of engineers.

Kaiser Permanent strike

DENVER CO – AUGUST 27: Unionist Kaiser Permanente workers vote to join KP workers in California and approve a strike at Kaiser Skyline Medical Center on August 27, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by RJ Sangosti / MediaNews Group / The Denv (RJ Sangosti / MediaNews Group / The Denver Post / Getty Images)

“We hope to reach an agreement very soon,” Kaiser spokesman Steve Shivinsky said.

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The alliance said it has more than 35,000 member employees in California; 6,300 in Oregon and Washington; 2,100 in Colorado; 2,300 in Maryland, Washington, DC and Northern Virginia; 3,000 in Georgia; and 1,900 in Hawaii.

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