Kaiser Permanente made progress in negotiations on Friday, reaching a tentative deal with 75,000 workers who had participated in a three-day strike across multiple states. However, the agreement does not extend to a separate group of pharmacy technicians in Oregon and Southwest Washington, who have been conducting their strike for two weeks and intend to continue.
The United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) Local 555, representing local Kaiser pharmacy and imaging staff, reported that Kaiser presented a proposal they deemed “insulting and out-of-touch” during recent negotiations. The company offered a 3% wage increase for each year of the new contract, while the union’s team sought a 43% increase over four years.
Dan Clay, President of UFCW Local 555, emphasized the critical work performed by pharmacy technicians and clerks and the need for a fair offer from Kaiser. The strike by these workers had resulted in issues such as prescription mix-ups, worker burnout, and patients experiencing delays and stock shortages. The strike was a response to unfair labor practices by Kaiser, according to the local union.
Kaiser confirmed that bargaining with the union would continue, with a commitment to negotiate in good faith to reach an agreement that ensures high-quality care remains affordable and accessible while enhancing the organization’s status as an excellent place to work.
The local Kaiser pharmacy workers initiated their planned 21-day strike on October 1, distancing themselves from the broader union coalition that conducted a three-day strike the previous week. The local union believed that independence would better serve the bargaining needs of pharmacy and imaging workers.
The union claimed that the strike had forced Kaiser to close several pharmacy locations due to staffing problems. Additionally, a four-week pharmacy strike is scheduled to commence on October 23, two days after the current strike’s planned conclusion, unless an agreement is reached.
Imaging workers have not joined the strike as their contract has not yet expired, but it is set to conclude on November 1, at which point they would be eligible to take action.