Updated Oct 16, 2023 - Economy

Kaiser reaches tentative deal with union coalition, averting more strikes

Striking Kaiser Permanente workers march in front of the Kaiser Permanente San Francisco Medical Center on Oct. 4. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Union leaders representing tens of thousands of Kaiser Permanente health care workers said on Friday morning that they'd reached a tentative labor agreement with the health system.

Why it matters: The tentative deal averts another strike by Kaiser workers; their three-day work stoppage earlier this month was the largest ever in the U.S. health-care industry.

  • Both the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions and the company thanked acting U.S. Labor Secretary Julie Su for her involvement in reaching the tentative agreement.

Catch up quick: About 75,000 employees at one of the nation's leading nonprofit health care systems went on strike from Oct. 4-6.

  • The strike included professionals across fields, including nurses, radiographers, ultrasound sonographers, home health aides and pharmacists.
  • The union coalition said earlier this month it would only accept a "unified" wage across all of Kaiser's regions, which includes eight states and Washington, D.C.

Details: The coalition was seeking protections against a widespread staffing shortage that it said creates unsafe conditions for patients.

  • The staffing levels "can lead to dangerously long wait times, mistaken diagnosis, and neglect," the coalition said in an earlier statement.

Of note: A potential work stoppage was on the unions' radar from Nov. 1-8, likely avoided with a new contract.

Zoom out: The Kaiser Permanente work stoppage was one of many strikes this summer and fall that underscored a strengthening labor movement across the country.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with details throughout. It has been corrected to reflect that radiographers, not radiologists, were included in the strike.

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