Kaiser Permanente Pharmacists Plan Strike
About 1,300 Kaiser Permanente pharmacists in Northern California will strike on Monday unless an agreement on pay and retirement benefits is reached, the Sacramento Bee reports (Chan, Sacramento Bee, 5/31). The Northern California Guild of Professional Pharmacists on Friday issued a 10-day strike notice to Kaiser.
The pharmacists are asking for pension and retirement benefits similar to those of other Kaiser employees. The current contract expires Thursday (Vesely, Oakland Tribune, 5/31).
Negotiations stalled last week when Kaiser offered a 3.5% pay increase and no change in retirement benefits, compared with a 5% pay increase approved for other employees, union officials said. A Kaiser spokesperson said negotiations will continue this week.
Kaiser spokesperson Alix Sabin said the HMO will hire replacement workers in the event of a strike and "pharmacies will continue to be fully operational." Kaiser serves about 3.2 million members in Northern California at 19 hospitals and 152 medical offices. Kaiser pharmacies also have about 260 pharmacist vacancies.
Sabin said, "We don't expect that there is going to be a strike. There is a feeling that an agreement is going to be reached" (Sacramento Bee, 5/31).