Kaiser Permanente and Washington workers reach deal to avoid strike

By: - October 31, 2023 2:53 pm

Kaiser Permanente workers pose for a photo. (SEIU Healthcare 1199NW)

Kaiser Permanente and thousands of its Washington workers have agreed on a tentative labor contract, averting a strike planned for Wednesday had no deal been reached.

Absent an agreement, about 3,000 employees at 36 locations, including nurses, social workers and medical assistants, were prepared to walk out from Nov. 1 to 8.

Instead, starting Wednesday, those workers will be voting to ratify the proposed four-year deal with the health care provider. The contract would take effect Nov. 1.

SEIU Healthcare 1199NW, which represents the workers, will count votes Nov. 8 and issue an announcement the next day, a union spokeswoman said. Agreement details will be made public when the vote is finalized, she said.

Earlier this month, a national coalition of unions, including SEIU Healthcare 1199NW, reached a tentative agreement with Kaiser Permanente following a three-day strike by tens of thousands of workers nationwide, including some in southwest Washington.

In its release, SEIU Healthcare 1199NW said its deal with Kaiser Permanente Washington “complements” the tentative national accord announced Oct. 13. Kaiser provided the same statement as the union.

At the time, Jane Hopkins, president of SEIU Healthcare 1199NW, said terms in that national deal did not cover all of the Washington union’s demands.

That earlier agreement establishes minimum wages over three years that will reach $25 an hour in California and $23 an hour everywhere else, including in Washington. Wage increases will also total 21% over four years. 

Kaiser serves about 643,000 people in Washington.

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Jerry Cornfield
Jerry Cornfield

Jerry Cornfield joined the Standard after 20 years covering Olympia statehouse news for The Everett Herald. Earlier in his career, he worked for daily and weekly papers in Santa Barbara, California.