The landmark new contract follows months of tireless advocacy from tens of thousands of frontline healthcare workers, including a three-day unfair labor practice strike in early October. A tentative agreement was reached on October 13 following Acting U.S. Labor Secretary Julie Su’s engagement to help Kaiser Permanente and the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions successfully bridge the gap on key issues.
“This is more than a contract – it signals a new day for frontline healthcare workers and for patient safety across Kaiser facilities,” said Angelica Mateo, a licensed vocational nurse at Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center Clinics. “When healthcare workers stand shoulder-to-shoulder to fight for our patients and our jobs, we can win.”
Crucially, the new contract contains strong commitments on wages, hiring, and training that will allow Kaiser Permanente to recruit and retain experienced professionals and improve patient care. Contract terms include:
“Tens of thousands of healthcare workers have been fighting with one goal in mind: to finally have the resources they need to keep patients safe. Today, we celebrate a huge step forward in addressing persistent staffing problems,” said Caroline Lucas, Executive Director of the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions. “This new contract is not only a victory for Kaiser’s patients and employees, but for all frontline healthcare workers and those who rely on them in our moments of need. When healthcare workers win, we all win.”
The Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions represents 85,000 Kaiser healthcare workers in seven states and the District of Columbia. In April, the Coalition began its national bargaining process ahead of the September 30th contract expiration. The Coalition and Kaiser Permanente had last negotiated a contract in 2019 before healthcare workers found themselves on the frontlines of the COVID pandemic that has worsened working conditions and exacerbated a healthcare staffing crisis.
From Wednesday, October 4 to Saturday, October 7, 75,000 Kaiser healthcare workers held an unfair labor practice strike. The actions, led by workers across multiple states and in Washington, D.C., constituted the largest strike of healthcare workers in U.S. history. On October 9, Coalition unions issued a second 10-day notice for a strike that would have commenced on November 1 and included an additional 3,000 healthcare workers in Seattle but was withdrawn upon the tentative agreement.
“Frontline healthcare workers across states, facilities, and professions have shown the world what is possible through unity,” said Dave Regan, President of SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW). “We want to express our profound gratitude to Acting U.S. Labor Secretary Julie Su and the Biden administration for their support of workers' right to bargain collectively and their efforts to help reach an agreement that addresses the staffing challenges facing healthcare workers and their patients.”
OPEIU Local 2 is a labor union supporting over 8,000 professional workers in Washington DC, Maryland, and Virginia. We represent staff members across a number of sectors, including healthcare, non-profit, and more.
All Action Community Change Education Committee Kaiser Permanente LGBTQIA Committee Member Benefits Member Committees New Unions And Contract Wins! Non Profit Political Education Committee Social Justice Committee Women's Committee