September 25, 2019
Four-year agreement between Kaiser Permanente and Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions would cover 85,000 employees; strike threat withdrawn.
OAKLAND, Calif. — Kaiser Permanente and the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions have reached a tentative agreement on a national, 4-year collective bargaining agreement that covers 85,000 unionized Kaiser Permanente health care workers in 11 local unions.
The tentative agreement provides annual pay increases and maintains excellent employee benefits while also creating a program to reduce the national shortage of health care workers. If ratified, the agreement will position Kaiser Permanente — including its members, employees, and local communities — for a sustainable future as the organization works to make its high-quality, integrated model of care even more affordable and accessible in all its regions.
The Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions comprises 11 local unions from 3 international unions. It includes IFPTE (International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers) Local 20, OPEIU (Office and Professional Employees International Union) Local 29, OPEIU Local 30, OPEIU Local 50/Hawaii Nurses Association, OPEIU Local 2, OPEIU Local 8, SEIU (Service Employees International Union) Local 49, SEIU-UHW (SEIU United Healthcare Workers West), SEIU Local 121RN, SEIU Local 105 and SEIU 1199NW.
“We greatly respect and value our employees who deliver on our mission every day,” said Arlene Peasnall, interim chief human resources officer, Kaiser Permanente Health Plan and Hospitals. “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.”
The new tentative agreement includes:
- Solid wage increases: Guaranteed wage increases each year through 2023 in Northern and Southern California, Colorado, Hawaii, the Mid-Atlantic States (northern Virginia, Maryland, and Washington D.C.), Northwest (Oregon and southwest Washington), and Washington regions.
- Opportunities for career growth: Kaiser Permanente employees will have the opportunity to move into new roles in a training capacity after pursuing the education needed for the job, at an adjusted Step 1 pay scale; they are guaranteed they will not make less than in their former position. Once experience requirements are met, they will continue in the normal steps for the position at the full rate.
- Workforce development fund: A new multimillion-dollar fund will be created to provide educational opportunities for Californians who may not otherwise be able to pursue a career in health care.
- Retirement security: The agreement preserves the existing defined benefit pension plan along with other strong retirement benefits.
- Outsourcing: The parties have agreed to a list of jobs that will not be outsourced or subcontracted for the life of the contract.
- Career mobility: The agreement offers an additional $250 for employee travel as part of the tuition reimbursement program, raising the total to $750.
- Affordable health care: The agreement includes a pharmacy utilization approach that incents employees to utilize the more efficient mail-order prescription service.
The tentative agreement was reached by Kaiser Permanente and Coalition negotiators on September 24, following nearly 5 months of active bargaining that began in April 2019. It will now go to Coalition union members for ratification, where voting is expected to be completed by the end of October.
If ratified, the contract will have an effective date of October 1, 2019, and will cover more than 85,000 health care employees: 67,000 in California; 8,300 in Oregon and Washington; 3,100 in Colorado; 5,000 in Maryland, Washington, D.C., and northern Virginia; and 1,000 in Hawaii. Coalition employees represent hundreds of job classifications, from optometrists and pharmacists to maintenance and service workers.
About Kaiser Permanente
About Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, Kaiser Permanente has a mission to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve 12.3 million members in eight states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal Permanente Medical Group physicians, specialists and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health.