Kaiser Permanente, union reach tentative agreement; nurses' strike prevented

Oakland, Calif.-based Kaiser Permanente and the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United have announced that they have reached a tentative three-year contract agreement for 18,000 California RNs who work at Kaiser hospitals and clinics, avoiding a scheduled nurses' strike.

The two-day strike for Kaiser medical centers in Northern California was scheduled for Jan. 21 and 22.

Under the contract, Kaiser has agreed to establish a new committee of direct care RNs and nurse practitioners who will work with management in regard to RN concerns about care standards, according to CNA/NNU. Additionally, Kaiser will hire hundreds of nurses.

The agreement also includes provisions providing for nurse protection from workplace violence and long-term retirement security, which includes a "substantial increase in employer contributions to the nurses' 401k pension plans for the 87 percent of Kaiser RNs with those plans."

The agreement achieves Kaiser Permanente's priorities of "slowing the growth of our long-term liabilities; offering comprehensive benefits to our nurses that are consistent with our commitment to affordability; and providing operational flexibility in the workplace," according to a news release from Kaiser.

"We greatly respect and value our nurses," Gregory A. Adams, group president and regional president of Kaiser Foundation Hospitals and Health Plan in Northern California, said in a statement. "This agreement is aligned with our commitment to improve our quality and affordability and to be a national model for the delivery of health care."

CNA/NNU said in its announcement that the agreement "will give the RNs a stronger voice on patient care, and breakthrough improvements in workplace protections," as well as "economic gains and additional retirement security."

 

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