Pasadena-Headquartered Kaiser Reaches Agreement with Union Coalition Averting October Strike

Published : Wednesday, September 25, 2019 | 11:02 AM

Earlier this year, Kaiser Permanente mental health therapists staged a one-day walkout outside their offices at 3280 E Foothill Blvd, Pasadena on April 25, 2019.

Pasadena-based Kaiser Permanente announced a tentative contract agreement with one of two union groupings it has been negotiating with for some months now.

The Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions had voted to strike and set an Oct. 14 date for the initiation of a seven-day job action, but this development would table that plan while rank-and-file members vote on the contract.

The Coalition’s press statement said ratification votes would take place “in the coming weeks.”

“Kaiser Permanente has an unparalleled track record of working constructively with labor to solve problems together to improve the care and service offered to our members and patients,” said the company’s chief human resources officer Arlene Peasnall in a statement.

The four-year agreement covers some 85,000 members at Kaiser facilities in California (67,000), Colorado (3,100), Washington and Oregon (8,300), Maryland, Virginia, and Washington D.C. (5,000), and Hawaii (1,000), according to Kaiser.

The Coalition said the pact includes 3 percent pay increases in each year through 2023 for workers in California, Oregon, and southern Washington.

Those laboring in Colorado, Hawaii, Virginia, Maryland, the District of Columbian and the northern stretches of Washington state will get a 3 percent increase the first year, followed by 2 percent increases supplemented with a 1 percent lump sum payment through the remainder of the contract’s term.

The contract establishes a path to change roles at the company without any concomitant decrease in pay.

Kaiser workers would keep their defined benefit plan, or pension plan, which has proven more popular with employees than the mechanism which it typically substituted with, the 401(k) plan.

Kaiser unions, which made much of staffing shortages during the protracted negotiations, said the new contract would establish a $120 million workforce development program to train Californians for careers in health care.

The Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions consists of 11 local unions.

The contract was reached by negotiations on Sept. 24 after five months of active bargaining. If ratified, the pact would have an effective date of Oct. 1, 2019

The HMO still has unfinished contract business with the some 4,000 employees represented by the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW), who rejected a contract proposal in July.

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