Kaiser calls union's ask of 43% raise 'not reasonable'

As hundreds of pharmacy and imaging workers for Kaiser Permanente strike, a spokesperson for the system told CBS affiliate KPIC their union's ask for a 43% raise over the next four years is "frankly, not reasonable."

The union, UFCW Local 555, represents about 560 imaging technicians and 380 pharmacy technicians, warehouse workers and pharmacy clerks. The employees are on a strike that could last until Nov. 18 as the union negotiates a four-year contract with the Oakland, Calif.-based system. 

UFCW Local 555 is asking for a 43% wage increase for its members, and a spokesperson for the union told Becker's this request is on par with the market. Kaiser recently offered to raise salaries 3% each year, which the union called an "insulting, out-of-touch proposal." 

"We have a strong offer on the table that includes significant wage increases and generous benefits," the Kaiser spokesperson told KPIC. "We call on UFCW 555 to be reasonable in their demands, and bargain with us to reach an agreement so our imaging and pharmacy employees can return to the important work of caring for our members.

The pharmacy workers went on strike for three weeks in October and are currently on strike for four weeks, from Oct. 23 through Nov. 18. The imaging employees joined Nov. 1. The strikes are in response to unfair labor practices, according to the union, which is based in Oregon and Southwest Washington. 

"Without imaging technologists and pharmacy technicians, you don't have a hospital. You don't have one that's functional," Miles Eshaia, communications coordinator for UFCW, told KPIC.

Thirteen X-ray imaging locations are open and seven are temporarily closed, and 11 medical offices' pharmacies are open as seven are temporarily closed during the strike, according to Kaiser

Pharmacies and imaging locations at hospitals and medical offices with urgent care clinics will remain open, according to Kaiser. Mail-order pharmacy services and local retail pharmacies are also available. 

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