Technicians and pharmacy clerks at Kaiser Permanente facilities throughout Southern California are preparing to potentially strike if contract negotiations continue to stall following the expiration of labor contracts on Nov. 1.

In the Valley region, Kaiser has major centers in Woodland Hills, Panorama City and the Antelope Valley.

United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) said Kaiser Permanente employees are dissatisfied with changes in what they believe is an insufficient wage structure.

For example, Kaiser has proposed to introduce a 1 percent wage increase with a 1 percent bonus for each year. Union members are asking for 4 percent instead.

“In this economy that we are in today, getting a 1 percent increase per year for the next three years is unsustainable – in California or anywhere else Kaiser employees live and work,” Teresa Almora-Sorosjinda, a pharmacy assistant at Kaiser Permanente-Antelope Valley, said in a statement provided by the union.” It won’t just hurt us financially, but also emotionally, having to struggle to keep up with our regular payments such as rent and feeding our families.”

UFCW locals are members of the Alliance of Healthcare Unions, which represents more than 50,000 Kaiser Permanente employees.
Kaiser is also putting forth the possible adoption of a two-tier pay and benefits structure. Critiques of the structure point out that future hires, those hired in 2023 and beyond, would see their wage scale reduced by 26 percent.

UFCW 770 Communications Director Bertha Rodriguez said meetings about the potential strike and its date would be held later this week.