Kaiser Permanente Reaches Tentative Contract Agreement with California Nurses Association
Kaiser Permanente on Friday reached a tentative contract agreement with the California Nurses Association that averted a potential strike of more than 10,000 nurses at 54 health care facilities in Northern and Central California, the Contra Costa Times reports (Tate, Contra Costa Times, 9/7). The new contract agreement, reached after three months of negotiations, would provide an "across-the-board" salary increase of 26.5% over four years and would end the practice of mandatory overtime at the facilities by Jan. 1, 2003. The agreement also includes a provision that would establish a "pool of nurses available to work in disciplines in which they have special training" at the facilities, the Los Angeles Times reports (Malnic, Los Angeles Times, 9/7). The agreement would provide "defined benefit" plans for retirees to replace their 401(k) plans, which would effectively triple nurses' retirement benefits. In addition, the agreement would allow nurses who retire at age 55 with 15 years of experience to purchase family and dependent health coverage at a reduced rate through Kaiser's HMO plan, the Sacramento Bee reports (Rapapport, Sacramento Bee, 9/7). Deborah Burger, a registered nurse and chair of the CNA bargaining committee, said that the agreement also would increase in the number of "quality liaisons" -- patient advocates who monitor care provided by nurses -- at the facilities (Raine, San Francisco Chronicle, 9/7). CNA members plan to vote on the agreement on Oct. 20. The agreement would expire on Aug. 31, 2006 (Sacramento Bee, 9/7).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.