Kaiser Permanente and a coalition of 11 unions that represent the health care provider's employees in several states, including California, reached a tentative contract deal on Wednesday. The four-year agreement includes wage increases, a workforce development program and stronger restrictions on outsourcing.
“This agreement will allow us to rebuild the worker-management partnership that has been so important to all of us in making Kaiser successful over the last 20 years,” said Georgette Bradford, an ultrasound technologist at Kaiser in Sacramento, in a union press release. “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.”
The deal comes after months of bargaining and several demonstrations by members of the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions. Workers were threatening a nationwide strike in mid-October that would have involved more than 80,000 employees. The threat of this strike has now been withdrawn, according to Kaiser Permanente.
“We greatly respect and value our employees who deliver on our mission every day,” said Arlene Peasnall, interim chief human resources officer of Kaiser Permanente Health Plan and Hospitals, in a statement. “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."
“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,” Peasnall added. “We may disagree at times, but we have always been able to work through our challenges to align on common goals.”