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Kaiser Permanente and union reach tentative deal after strike

The strike has been identified as the largest on record for medical workers, including nurses and support staff.
Kaiser Permanente and union reach tentative deal after strike
Posted at 8:39 PM, Oct 13, 2023

Union coalition leadership for Kaiser Permanente health care workers said on Friday they had reached a deal, albeit tentative, compromising on wage increases and other demands. 

Medical workers, including nurses, support staff and technicians, went on a historic three-day strike last week, making it the largest of its kind on record. 

SEE MORE: Kaiser Permanente, union reach agreement following strike

As the Associated Press reported, the massive health care strike was the result of workers' dissatisfaction with wages and staffing shortages. 

Around 75,000 workers picketed during the multi-day demonstration in multiple states which officially ended last weekend. 

Josephine Rios, a 55-year-old nurse who joined the strike said, "Unfortunately, it’s a financial burden for us that live paycheck to paycheck." 

She said, "We can’t afford to strike a long time, but it’s a double-edged sword. We can’t afford not to strike."

The strike for three days in California — where most of Kaiser’s facilities are located — as well as in Colorado, Oregon and Washington was a last resort after Kaiser executives ignored the short-staffing crisis worsened by the coronavirus pandemic, union officials said. 

Unions representing Kaiser workers in August asked for a $25 hourly minimum wage, as well as increases of 7% each year in the first two years and 6.25% each year in the two years afterward.

Kaiser, which turned a $2.1 billion profit for the quarter, said in a statement that it proposes minimum hourly wages between $21 and $23 depending on the location. The company said it also completed hiring 10,000 more people, adding to the 51,000 workers the hospital system has brought on board since 2022.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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