Kaiser mental health workers in Hawaii end 6-month strike

Oakland, Calif.-based Kaiser Permanente has reached a tentative agreement with members of the National Union of Healthcare Workers to end a mental health strike in Hawaii, which was ongoing for about six months, according to union and system statements shared with Becker's.

The three-year tentative agreement, announced Feb. 16, covers 50 Kaiser Permanente psychologists, social workers, psychiatric nurses and chemical dependency counselors represented by NUHW in Hawaii. Workers must still approve the deal, and details of the agreement will be available after a ratification vote, the union said. Therapists are slated to return to work on Feb. 21, and picket lines were halted as of Feb. 16.

Union members began an open-ended strike in Hawaii on Aug. 29. Since then, NUHW members in Northern California approved a four-year contract with Kaiser to end their strike. Members of the California Nurses Association at 21 Northern California Kaiser Permanente facilities have also approved a new contract. Additionally, in late 2021, workers represented by local unions nationwide approved a contract with Kaiser. The Hawaii strike that recently ended lasted more than 170 days.

"Kaiser Permanente has the deepest appreciation and gratitude for our mental health professionals and the extraordinary care they provide to our members so we are pleased to have reached a tentative agreement with NUHW," Kaiser said in a statement. "Our mental health staff represented by NUHW will now vote on the new agreement and we look forward to hearing from the union regarding ratifications status."

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