Kaiser Permanente IT workers protest for higher wages

Seventy-five members of the Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers gathered in protest at Kaiser Permanente's Oakland, Calif.-based headquarters Sept. 15 to demand equal pay and benefits for Inland Empire Kaiser IT workers, reports KTVU.

The 60 Inland Empire workers are stationed in the Southern California towns of Corona, Fontana and Riverside, and joined the union in February 2016. They have been in discussion with management over an initial contract for two years, Patrick Cloney, a union member and lead IT worker at Kaiser in Fresno, told KTVU.

"We want the same wages and benefits for 60 Inland Empire Kaiser IT workers as those of their counterparts [in Orange County and San Diego]," Mr. Cloney said. He also alleged the company has been "nickel and dimming" the workers with low wages and benefit proposals compared to their counterparts.

However, Kaiser has disagreed with the claims.

"The only remaining dispute in bargaining is over wage scales. We currently pay these employees the market rate for computer desktop support workers in the Riverside/San Bernardino market. Their average wage is $34.97, or more than $72,000 annually. The union is demanding that these 60 employees be paid at a much higher rate which would make them much more highly paid than similar workers in the same market. We have offered a generous increase but the union is demanding considerably more," Kaiser spokesperson John Nelson told Becker's Hospital Review in an emailed statement last week.

Becker's has reached out to Kaiser Permanente for additional comment. This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

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