Kaiser's 22.5% raises avert nurse strike

Members of the California Nurses Association have reached a tentative agreement with Kaiser Permanente, averting a planned two-day strike by more than 21,000 registered nurses and nurse practitioners in Northern California.

Both sides announced the tentative agreement Nov. 17.

Union members at Kaiser Northern California facilities have been in negotiations since June, according to a CNA news release. Registered nurses and nurse practitioners in Northern California were set to strike Nov. 21 and Nov. 22.

The four-year tentative deal boosts wages for Northern California nurses by 22.5 percent over the life of the contract, according to a statement Oakland, Calif.-based Kaiser shared with Becker's. Kaiser had previously proposed 21.25 percent in wage increases over four years.

"The tentative agreement is driven by the changing economy, including inflation, significant changes in the marketplace and our commitment to providing our employees with excellent pay and benefits to attract and retain the best nurses," Kaiser's statement says.

According to both sides, the tentative agreement also includes:       

  • An agreement to add more than 2,000 new registered nurse and nurse practitioner positions.   
  • Increased tuition reimbursement for nurses' education.       
  • The creation of a new regional equity, diversity and inclusion committee.       
  • Language including agreement that healthcare is a human right.

"We are very pleased with this new contract, which will help us recruit new nurses and retain experienced RNs and nurse practitioners," CNA President Cathy Kennedy, RN, said in a news release. "We not only won the biggest annual raises in 20 years, but we have also added more than 2,000 positions across our Northern California facilities. This will ensure safe staffing and better patient care."

Ms. Kennedy also praised Kaiser's commitment "to a workplace that is free from racism and discrimination" and the health system's agreement "that we must fight racial and ethnic disparities in healthcare outcomes."

"The tentative agreement honors our Northern California nurses with a market-based economic package that accounts for inflation, accelerates our investments in staffing, and addresses workplace safety, diversity and equity, remote work, and other key matters in a way that is sustainable and benefits our members and patients as well," Kaiser's statement reads.

Union members in Northern California will vote on approving the new four-year contract over the next few weeks. Registered nurses at Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center also reached a tentative agreement and will vote on the deal Nov. 22.

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