Kaiser Permanente to Raise Salaries for Northern California Nurses
Facing a nursing shortage that "promises to worsen," Kaiser Permanente announced plans Tuesday to "substantially increase" salaries for the HMO's Northern California nurses to "remain competitive in a tight market," the Contra Costa Times reports. Kaiser Permanente will raise registered nurses' salaries by 14% over the next 11 months, more than four times higher than pay increases required under the current contract. The nurses will receive a 4% increase Aug. 26, a 2% increase Nov. 4, a 4% increase Dec. 31 and a 4% percent increase June 1. According to Kaiser Permanente spokesperson Tom Debley, the salary boost, which affects about 9,600 nurses, "comes in response to the intense competition" among Northern California hospitals to recruit nurses. Although officials at the California Nurses Association "readily accepted" the increase, they said that salary and working conditions at the HMO "still are inadequate." Jim Ryder, a contract negotiator for the union, said, "Basically, what they've done is made a major advance on trying to catch up, but they didn't attempt to reach parity or exceed it." Before the salary boost, Kaiser Permanente's salaries "lagged" about 17% behind competitors, Ryder said. He added that the HMO -- which has hundreds of vacant nursing positions in Northern California filled by temporary employees who cost more than salaried nurses -- "had no choice but to raise" wages (Silber, Contra Costa Times, 7/18).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.