Kaiser Permanente and Unions Reach Tentative Deal

Kaiser Permanente and unions enter tentative agreement after the healthcare industry's biggest strike.

Kaiser Permanente healthcare workers hold picket signs outside an Oregon hospital in January 2023.
(Image credit: Elayna Yussen/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Kaiser Permanente and the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions jointly announced that they reached a tentative agreement for a new contract today, October 13, following the coalition's three-day strike earlier this month.

The proposal now goes before the coalition's more than 85,000 Kaiser Permanente workers for ratification, a process that is set to begin October 18, Kaiser and the coalition said. Once ratified, the agreement will have an October 1, 2023 effective date.

The tentative deal follows months of contract negotiations between the parties, including the last one on October 12 and 13. The coalition, which had previously warned of plans for a potential second strike next month if a new deal was not reached, said today that it has withdrawn its notices for a November strike.

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“The frontline healthcare workers of the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions are excited to have reached a tentative agreement with Kaiser Permanente as of this morning,” the coalition posted on its Facebook page earlier today. “We are thankful for the instrumental support of Acting US Labor Secretary Julie Su."

Under the proposed deal:

  • New minimum wages over three years will be established for coalition-represented employees that will reach $25 per hour in California and $23 per hour in other states where Kaiser Permanente operates
  • Guaranteed across-the-board wage increases will be made, totaling 21% over four years
  • The employees’ Performance Sharing Plan will be enhanced to include minimum payout opportunities and a substantial maximum payout opportunity
  • Investments will be increased in professional development and job training as well as other initiatives to help address the staffing crisis in health care

Check Kaiser website for updates

More than 75,000 union workers staged a walkout from October 4 to 7 to protest unfair labor practices and unsafe staffing levels at the healthcare giant, as Kiplinger previously reported. The strike, which the union said is the largest ever in the healthcare worker industry, added to the labor unrest across the U.S. economy this year. Strikes or threats of strikes so far this year have involved workers from various industries including autoworkersflight attendantspilotsUPS drivers and writers.

During negotiations, Kaiser said on its website that plans were in place for member and patient care during a strike and that no one should be dissuaded from seeking necessary care. 

“All our hospitals and emergency departments remain open. Our facilities will continue to be staffed by our physicians, trained and experienced managers and our great staff,” according to the website. “Thousands of qualified and trained contract staff are joining our Kaiser Permanente teams this week as well to help meet our members’ and patients’ needs. We thank those Coalition-represented employees who have chosen to come to work and care for our patients, members and communities.”

The Kaiser site added, however, that members would be notified if any changes to Kaiser's services are necessary and that non-emergency and elective services in some locations may need to be rescheduled. It adds that members should check for updates regarding care delivery on kp.org.

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Joey Solitro

Joey Solitro is a freelance financial journalist at Kiplinger with more than a decade of experience. A longtime equity analyst, Joey has covered a range of industries for media outlets including The Motley Fool, Seeking Alpha, Market Realist, and TipRanks. Joey holds a bachelor's degree in business administration.