Kaiser strike expected to affect all of its Northern California outpatient pharmacies

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Kaiser Permanente officials are telling patients to refill their prescriptions before a strike expected to start Nov. 15 and last a week, as all of Kaiser's outpatient pharmacies in Northern California are expected to be affected, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

The Chronicle said Nov. 5 that the Guild for Professional Pharmacists, a labor union representing pharmacists at the Oakland, Calif.-based health system, sent Kaiser a warning that the strike may affect a patient's ability to refill prescriptions. Kaiser officials have subsequently urged patients to refill their prescriptions before the strike. 

Kaiser said those unable to go to the pharmacy before the strike are urged to use the health system's free mail-order delivery pharmacy, the Chronicle reported. 

About 2,500 Kaiser Permanente pharmacists are expected to strike, KTVU Fox 2, a Fox affiliate in Oakland, reported. 

Kaiser has said its proposals for an agreement would keep Kaiser pharmacists among the highest paid in the profession, KTVU reported. 

More than 30,000 Kaiser Permanente workers are expected to strike. During negotiations, key issues of contention have been staffing as well as a proposed two-tiered wage system that would pay starting employees less than their more experienced colleagues.

Union representatives say that staffing has reached crisis levels at Kaiser Permanente and in other healthcare settings.

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