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Kaiser Permanente and unions reach deal after healthcare workers’ strike

Kaiser Permanente’s healthcare workers unions have reached a tentative agreement with the company, the union said in a social media post on Friday.

The California-based care consortium and the union representing healthcare workers resumed negotiations on Thursday, more than a week after contract talks broke off at the start of a 72-hour strike by 75,000 nurses, medical technicians and support staff.

The strike, which ran for three days, marked the largest work stoppage to date in the healthcare sector.

The dispute was focused on workers’ demands for better pay and measures to ease chronic staff shortages and high turnover that union officials say has undermined patient care at Kaiser, a leading nonprofit hospital network and managed-care organization.

“A big moment for Kaiser workers! Strikes work. When working people demand to be heard, bosses have no choice but to come to the table!” Mary Kay Henry, president of Service Employees International Union, which represents many of the workers at Kaiser Permanente, wrote on X.

Details of the agreement have yet to be announced by the unions.

The workers, represented by the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions, were bargaining for new union contracts after their current contracts expired on 1 October. Workers demanded significant wage increases and substantive improvements to what they say has been severe understaffing in healthcare facilities that worsened throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

The strike hit the non-profit private healthcare provider’s operations in California, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Virginia and Washington DC.

Unions pointed to Kaiser Permanente’s recent profits of $3bn in the first half of 2023 and decried exorbitant salaries of executives.

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Reuters contributed reporting.