Kaiser Permanente union health care workers have overwhelmingly ratified a new contract tentatively approved last month after the largest health care strike in U.S. history.
In a statement Thursday, union representatives said the contract would boost patient safety and allow for needed health care workforce investments. More than 85,000 employees in seven states and the District of Columbia voted for the four-year contract, which will run through September 2027, by a 98.5% margin.
Days after the contract's tentative approval, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed off on a new law that would bring a gradual wage hike to medical technicians, nursing assistants, custodians and other support staff starting next year.
“This is more than a contract—it signals a new day for frontline healthcare workers and for patient safety across Kaiser facilities,” Angelica Mateo, a licensed vocational nurse at Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center Clinics, said in a union-issued statement. “When healthcare workers stand shoulder-to-shoulder to fight for our patients and our jobs, we can win.”
“Tens of thousands of healthcare workers have been fighting with one goal in mind: to finally have the resources they need to keep patients safe. Today, we celebrate a huge step forward in addressing persistent staffing problems,” Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions executive director Caroline Lucas added in the statement.
“This new contract is not only a victory for Kaiser’s patients and employees but for all frontline healthcare workers and those who rely on them in our moments of need. When healthcare workers win, we all win.”
A Kaiser Permanente representative acknowledged the contract's signing, as well as approval of local collective bargaining agreements, in a statement Thursday. "These agreements will help ensure we remain a best place to work and receive care," the statement read in part. "We will begin implementing the national contract immediately."
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