The past weekend marked the conclusion of a months-long bargaining period between Kaiser Permanente and the Alliance of Health Care Unions, with the sides reaching a tentative agreement to avert a strike that could have started Monday.
The agreement covers nearly 50,000 employees and includes annual wage increases, new protections for employees and patients and career and advancement opportunities for workers.
In the Valley region, Kaiser has major centers in Woodland Hills, Panorama City and the Antelope Valley.
The contract, which still requires ratification by union members, guarantees across-the-board wage increases each year through 2025; provides bonus opportunities with annual payouts for achieving new mutually agreed upon objectives to address affordability; and new safe staffing and workload language on patient care.
The agreement maintains retirement income benefits, family medical and dental coverage.
Also, Kaiser Permanente and the alliance agreed to form a national Affordability and Competitiveness Task Force, which will work to strike a balance between issues of affordability and protecting quality patient care.
“These were challenging negotiations, but this tentative agreement demonstrates the strength of our Labor Management Partnership and the unique success it can achieve when we work together,” Christian Meisner, Kaiser’s chief human resources officer, said in a statement.
Hal Ruddick, the alliance’s executive director, said in a statement that the tentative agreement will simultaneously allow patients to receive the best care and alliance members to have the best jobs.
“This contract protects our patients, provides safe staffing and guarantees fair wages and benefits for every Alliance member,” he said.