As Kaiser coalition celebrates national tentative agreement, Kaiser Washington workers say company ‘needs to catch up and keep up’
(Oct. 16, 2023) — On the heels of its historic strike earlier this month, the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions announced last week that it had reached a tentative agreement with Kaiser that “secures critical workforce investments needed to solve the staffing crisis.” The deal affects 85,000-plus healthcare workers at Kaiser Permanente facilities in multiple states, including in southwest Washington.
However, the deal does not affect Kaiser Washington workers throughout the state (except in southwest Washington). Approximately 3,000 healthcare workers united in SEIU Healthcare 1199NW across 36 Kaiser facilities in Washington, announced Friday that they have voted overwhelmingly to authorize an unfair labor practice strike beginning Wednesday, Nov. 1 if Kaiser doesn’t settle a fair local contract before their contract expires at midnight on Oct. 31.
“While we’re excited about the tentative agreement reached for our national contract, management’s 1% proposal for market adjustments in Washington doesn’t go far enough,” reads a message posted from SEIU Healthcare 1199NW. “Kaiser needs to catch up and keep up in order to address the urgent issues workers and our communities are facing.”
Nor does the Coalition’s tentative deal affect ongoing bargaining for Imaging and Pharmacy workers at Kaiser in southwest Washington represented by UFCW Local 555, who continue bargaining today as the Pharmacy Technicians’ Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) strike continues.
“As Pharmacy Technicians and Clerks have been out on the picket line on a ULP strike, we have heard of prescription mix-ups, worker burnout, and patients waiting hours to get to the counter just to be told that their medication is out of stock,” said UFCW 555 President Dan Clay. “Kaiser Permanente should never have let it get this far, and needs to get real at the bargaining table, recognize the critical work their employees do, and come up with an offer that keeps these knowledgeable, hard-working professionals with Kaiser.”
Meanwhile, the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions is celebrating their tentative agreement as a “victory,” and participating unions are scheduling ratification votes.
“Millions of Americans are safer today because tens of thousands of dedicated healthcare workers fought for and won the critical resources they need and that patients need,” said Caroline Lucas, the Coalition’s Executive Director. “This historic agreement will set a higher standard for the healthcare industry nationwide.”
The tentative deal includes:
- 21% across-the-board raises for ALL regions: 6% in October 2023; 5% in October 2024; 5% in October 2025; 5% in October 2026 – the largest raise package in the history of the Kaiser Labor/Management Partnership.
- Renewed outsourcing and subcontracting protections for all classifications, including Revenue Cycle workers.
- $1,500 ratification bonus for all workers.
- Increase minimum wage:
- CA: June 2024: $23/hr; June 2025: $24/hr; June 2026: $25/hr
- Regions outside of CA: June 2024: $21/hr; June 2025: $22/hr; June 2026: $23/hr
- Our 2023 PSP, to be paid out in March 2024, will have a guaranteed minimum of $1,500 (pro-rated for part time) with potentially more based on goals.
- PSP payouts going forward:
- If Kaiser fails to meet financial goals, members will be paid $300 per each labor goal met (up to $1,200 for four labor goals).
- If Kaiser meets financial goals, members will be paid $700 per each labor goal met (total potential payout of $2,800).
- If Kaiser strongly exceeds financial goals, members will be paid $950 per each labor goal met (total potential payout of $3,750).
- Protected healthcare and pension benefits and improved retiree medical benefits.
- A full menu of initiatives to invest in the workforce and address the short-staffing crisis.
- Much, much more.