On strike for nearly three months
By Antonia Ehlers, PR and Media Relations, Kaiser Permanente Northern California
Kaiser Permanente has been bargaining in good faith with Local 39 IUOE (International Union of Operating Engineers Local 39 Stationary Engineers), the union that represents about 600 Kaiser Permanente operating engineers, for several months. The union decided to call a strike and have kept employees out for nearly three months. Our proposals to Local 39 will keep our engineers among the best compensated in their profession, at an average of more than $180,000 in total wages and benefits. We are not proposing any take-aways. (See related article)
In bargaining with IOUE Local 39, we delivered a comprehensive proposal that offers across-the-board pay increases and cash payments that are similar to our other employees’ and continues to include all our industry-leading benefits. Further, engineers’ retirement benefit would continue to be substantial, with several improvements.
Right now, Local 39’s position is the same as before it went on strike. The union continues to insist it receive much more – in some cases nearly 2 times more – than other union agreements covering Kaiser Permanente employees. It simply is not in line with other employees, nor is it in line with our obligation to continue addressing the affordability of health care for our more than 4.5 million members.
We will continue to bargain in good faith, and we hope that Local 39 leaders will continue to do the same. That means more discussion, fresh ideas, and compromise. At this time, we do not have any further dates scheduled to meet. We are optimistic that we can resolve the remaining issues with Local 39 at the bargaining table and reach an agreement that continues to reward our employees and supports health care affordability, just as we have with several unions recently.