Kaiser Permanente, 28 Unions Reach 3-Year Contract for 100K Employees

Kaiser Santa Clara workers among those getting 3% raises.

Kaiser Permanente and a coalition representing 100,000 employees in 28 different unions reached a new three-year contract at 3 a.m. Saturday, the health care organization and the unions announced.

The deal calls for 3 percent annual pay hikes for the 76,000 affected employees in California, and 2 percent in states ranging from Hawaii to Maryland, according to announcements made by the SEIU and Kaiser officials.

Kaiser operates clinics and hospitals throughout Santa Clara County, including those in nearby Santa Clara and San Jose.

A year ago, a hit Kaiser sites in San Diego and elsewhere in Southern California.

The new contract covers the largest single bloc of Kaiser employees, and covers wages and benefits as well as performance goals related to service, care quality, affordability, workforce and community health, and workforce development.

The president of one settling union, the Service Employees International Union-United Health Workers, hailed the deal.

“This contract takes labor relations to a new level by going beyond the normal bread and butter issues typically covered in a labor agreement,” said Dave Regan, president of SEIU-UHW. “The agreement maintains benefits and provides good raises, and we are proud of that, but we are also proud about provisions that will make employees healthier.”

It reportedly preserves all current benefits and improves the dental plan.

In addition, Kaiser Permanente committed $19 million annually to two existing educational trust funds to ensure career development for its diverse

“Unions and management agreed that health improvement is an essential strategy for reducing chronic conditions  one of the leading drivers of rising,
unsustainable cost,” Regan said in a joint news release sent out by Kaiser.

“Workers want to set an example and lead, so we intend to provide incentives for collective attainment of health goals plus opportunities for union members to lead on health in their communities.

“This is a high-road, long-term strategy for the common good.”

Dennis Dabney, senior vice president for national labor relations and management’s lead negotiator, said:

“Kaiser Permanente national bargaining is unique. There is not only a group of labor negotiators at the table, but a broad cross-section of our employees providing recommendations on how to better deliver high-quality, affordable care, and ensure Kaiser Permanente is a great place to work well
into the future.”

The tentative agreement must be ratified this summer by each of the 28 local unions in the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions.

If ratified, it will take effect Oct. 1.

Kaiser Permanente was founded in 1945 to provide health maintenance organization services to employees in wartime steel mills in California.

Since then, it has pioneered the concept of HMOs and grown to enroll about 8.9
million members in nine states and the District of Columbia.

—City News Service contributed to this report.


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