The Kaiser Permanente strike has led to a new, tentative labor agreement between Kaiser Permanente and a coalition of unions representing 85,000 healthcare providers.. What does this mean for the healthcare industry? Why was the strike so truncated? This brief article will go over everything you need to know about the recently concluded strike.
What was the Kaiser Permanente Strike about?
Based in Oakland, California, Kaiser Permanente is a massive care consortium that owns and manages healthcare facilities all over America. A massive presence in the industry, their facilities serve 13 million Americans across the country. Healthcare workers waged a strike with regards to current staffing levels and compensation packages.
What caused the strike, in the first place?
Earlier in August, representative workers from facilities under Kaiser Permanente negotiated for a $25 per hour minimum compensation rate, an increase of 7% in compensation for the next two years, and 6.25% in the following two. Healthcare workers argued that facilities were operating understaffed, which led to increased profits for Kaiser Permanente but increased stress and workload for HCPs. Negotiations stalled at a certain point, leading to the brief strike. With 75,000 active participants over the course of three days, this strike was one of the largest in healthcare history.
What were the agreed terms?
The strike lasted only three days, while the tentative labor agreement was made official a week later. Kaiser Permanente sought to avoid further strikes, which was a real possibility if terms were not agreed to before the current contract expired on October 31. The company conceded to raising compensation for HCPs by 21%, across the next four years. This was done to retain staff, while encouraging new HCPs to join their facilities.
In the short term, the deal will set minimum compensation for HCPs in California (where most of Kaiser Permanente’s facilities are located) to $25 per hour, while facilities in other states will provide rates at $23/hour. In addition, the contract also promises to promote initiatives held to promote further growth in the healthcare workforce following the pandemic.
Finally, Kaiser Permanente will make a proactive effort to fill its currently vacant positions. At the time of writing, 11% of positions at the company are unfilled. The company has made promises to cover hard-to-fill positions first, and remove arbitrary barriers that prevent qualified professionals from taking up healthcare roles. At the time of writing, their goal is to create 25,000 healthcare workers in the next four years.