Unionized workers reach ‘historical’ agreement with the multi-million dollar company; the pact must be ratified in october

Some 80,000 workers and union leaders of Kaiser Permanente reached a “historic” agreement on Wednesday and avoided a strike in six states of the country and the District of Columbia, which was scheduled to explode on October 14.

The provisional labor agreement will restore workers' alliance with the management of the US health care consortium; It also establishes the creation of a $ 130 million workforce development program and protects the jobs of the middle class.

“We have reached a strong contract that ensures that Kaiser Permanente values ​​its workers,” said Sean Wherley, spokesman for the International Service Employees Union (SEIU) United Healthcare Workers West that represents the workers, “but, above all, it is a commitment to patient care ”.

The provisional pact provides a program for thousands of Kaiser Permanente workers to receive free education and help cover the anticipated shortage of hundreds of thousands of health jobs, licensed with a culturally appropriate workforce.

It also includes increases of 3% the first year and 2% plus a lump sum of 1% in the next three years, among other benefits.

“98% of the Kaiser Permanente workers had voted in favor of the strike,” said Lucy Rojas, a member of the contractual negotiation committee.

"Managers and executives have been rich in money and did not want to share their earnings with us, even when we are short staffed."

Although registered with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as a “non-profit” company, Kaiser

Permanente earned more than $ 5.2 billion in profits during the first half of 2019, according to its own reports, which raised its earnings to more than $ 11 billion from January 1, 2017.

The company also has more than $ 37,000 million in reserves and if it were eligible to be included in the Fortune 500 list, it would be ranked 34th.

Rojas, originally from Cali, Colombia and who has been working as a receptionist for Kaiser Permanente in Woodland Hills for 33 years, told La Opinion that in discussions with the employers it was substantial for them to protect all workers, “so that America has a middle class high".

The union leaders are happy after the agreement on Wednesday. / photo: supplied.

Trade unionists from California, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Hawaii, Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia were joined on Sunday by the powerful Joint Truckers Council (Teamsters Joint Council 42) of Pomona and the TeamstersJoint Council 7, San Francisco, who represent a combined 350,000 trade unionists.

"Kaiser Permanente is just the latest example of a corporation that has lost its way by emphasizing huge profits and enriching senior executives instead of honoring its mission of serving the community," said Cammack, president of Teamsters Joint Council 42, with headquarters in Pomona.

Other labor organizations that support the strike include 19 regional labor groups in California, including the Los Angeles Labor Federation and the Colorado AFL-CIO.

The so-called strike was also backed by six Democratic presidential candidates, including federal senators Kamala Harris and Bernie Sanders, as well as the Democratic leader of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, as well as state legislators from California, Oregon and Colorado.

As of October 2, the 80,000 Kaiser Permanente workers have two weeks to ratify or oppose the agreement.

“We press until the end and win,” said Lucy Rojas. "We could not allow our rights to be violated."

The new contract, which would last 4 years includes:
1. Restore a true association of workers and management.
2. Ensure adequate personnel and compassionate use of technology.
3. Develop the workforce of the future to cope with the large projected shortage of authorized and accredited personnel in the
next years.
4. Protection of middle class jobs with salaries and benefits that can support families.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here