SEE 10/4/23 3:30 PM UPDATE: While bargaining ended without a contract settlement 5 tentative agreements reached
“Operations continue as normal”
Kaiser Permanente Statement on National Bargaining with the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions
Kaiser Permanente and leaders and members of the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions were bargaining through the weekend to reach an agreement.
We continue to make progress on key issues such as a redesigned performance sharing plan with updated payout opportunities. Last week we reached tentative agreements in four key areas:, travel for continuing education, the use of temporary workers such as traveling nurses, tracking of staffing vacancies, and dispute resolution.
It is important to know that while the current national agreement expired at midnight PDT on September 30, operations continue as normal, and we will continue to honor all current contract provisions. Contract expirations do not mean a strike will happen. We remain optimistic that we will reach an agreement and avoid an unnecessary strike, which the Coalition unions have called for starting on Wednesday morning, Oct 4.
We lead total compensation in every market where we operate, and our proposals in bargaining would ensure we keep that position. In some places, a Kaiser Permanente employee leaving for a similar job at another organization would face a 20-plus percent pay cut, and lower benefits.
Included in our current offer are guaranteed across-the-board wage increases and a proposed $21 minimum wage in Washington, Oregon, Colorado, the Mid-Atlantic States (Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia), and Hawaii starting in 2024; and a $23 minimum wage starting in 2024 in California.
Hiring and Staffing
Despite the acute shortage of health care workers nationally, we have been able to hire more than 50,000 frontline employees in the last two years: 29,000 people in 2022, and another 22,000 so far this year. Included in this year’s new hires are more than 9,800 people hired into jobs represented by the Coalition. Kaiser Permanente and the Coalition agreed in April to a goal of hiring 10,000 new people for Coalition-represented jobs by the end of 2023. We expect to reach the 10,000 new hire goal by the end of October, if not sooner, and we won’t stop there. We are committed to addressing every area of staffing that is still challenging. Additionally, our attrition rate of 7% is roughly a third of the industry average and continues to fall. These achievements underscore the value of a Kaiser Permanente job and reinforce our position as a leading health care employer.
Potential Strike Starting Wednesday
In the case that a strike does begin on Oct. 4, we have contingency plans in place to ensure members continue to receive safe, high-quality care for the duration of the strike. Our hospitals and emergency departments will remain open. Kaiser Permanente members can get updates on appointments, pharmacy guidance and where to get care on kp.org.
We’ll continue to bargain in good faith until we reach a fair and equitable agreement to ensure Kaiser Permanente continues to attract and retain the best people in health care — and remains a best place to work and get care. And that includes meeting our responsibility to continue to balance taking care of our employees and being more affordable to our members.
October 4, 2023 3:30 pm UPDATE:
After 6 months of bargaining with the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions, including a marathon effort that went through last night and into today, our bargaining sessions unfortunately ended without a settlement, and the Coalition strikes began.
While we have not reached a contract settlement, we have been able to reach a number of tentative agreements in bargaining, and our offers to date address the unions’ priorities, including:
- Across-the-board wage increases in all markets over the next four years.
- Updating the Performance Sharing Plan to include a minimum payout opportunity and potential for up to a $3,750 payout.
- Offering minimum wages of $23/hour in California and $21/hour in markets outside of California.
- Continuing and enhancing our existing excellent health benefits and retirement income plans.
- Renewing our strong tuition assistance and training programs, and increasing funding of the education trusts.
We remain committed to reaching a new agreement that continues to provide our employees with market-leading wages, excellent benefits, generous retirement income plans, and valuable professional development opportunities.
Together, we have faced the toughest challenges over the past three years. Kaiser Permanente, our industry, and our employees are now operating in a new cultural, labor, and post-pandemic environment that we are all working hard to understand. We are committed to finding workable solutions for this new environment that meet our responsibility to balance taking care of our employees and being affordable to our members.
We will coordinate with Coalition leaders to reconvene bargaining as soon as possible. We will work hard to reach an agreement so that together, we can all return to delivering on the mission of Kaiser Permanente for the benefit of our members, patients, employees, physicians, customers, and communities.
Meeting our shared staffing goal
On the same day that the Coalition strikes began, we’re pleased to confirm that we’ve met our goal of hiring 10,000 new Coalition-represented employees by year-end – and it is only October 4th. We’re not done yet. We are committed to addressing every area of staffing that is still challenging.
As a reminder: In April we agreed with the Coalition to a joint goal of hiring 10,000 people by the end of this year into jobs the Coalition cares about. We agreed this would be a great success if we could hire that many people into Coalition roles by the end of this year. We hit the goal three months early.
In total over the past two years, Kaiser Permanente has hired more than 50,000 people to join our teams.
Meeting our members’ needs
The health and wellbeing of our members and patients is our top priority. Because we are such a large organization, with multiple ways that members can access care, the impact of the strike is different at various locations.
We have robust plans in place to ensure members continue to receive safe, high-quality care during the strike.
All our hospitals and emergency departments remain open. Our facilities will continue to be staffed by our physicians, trained and experienced managers, and our great staff. Thousands of qualified and trained contract staff are joining our Kaiser Permanente teams this week as well, to help meet our members’ and patients’ needs. We thank those Coalition-represented employees who have chosen to come to work and care for our patients, members, and communities.
Members who need urgent or timely medical care should continue to seek it at our hospitals and medical facilities. A strike should not dissuade anyone from seeking necessary care.
We will contact members affected by any necessary changes in our services. We may need to reschedule non-emergency and elective services in some locations out of an abundance of caution. Our members can follow any important updates to our care delivery on kp.org.