Biden praises Kaiser Permanente labor agreement after worker strike: ‘Collective bargaining works’

Healthcare employees strike in entrance of Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center, as greater than 75,000 Kaiser Permanente healthcare employees go on strike from October 4 to 7 throughout the United States, in Los Angeles, California, October 4, 2023.

Aude Guerrucci | Reuters

More than 85,000 well being employees reached a tentative labor agreement with Kaiser Permanente on Friday that can keep away from extra strikes after the Biden administration intervened within the negotiations.

President Joe Biden praised the health workers and reiterated his assist for organized labor in a press release Friday.

“Health care employees and assist employees saved our hospitals – and our nation– going in the course of the darkish months of the pandemic,” Biden mentioned in a press release Friday. “They had our backs throughout one in every of our nation’s hardest instances. We should proceed to have theirs.”

“I at all times say that collective bargaining works,” Biden mentioned. “It works for UPS drivers and dock employees, writers, and thousands and thousands of American employees who train their proper to take part in a union.”

Biden has touted himself as essentially the most pro-union president in American historical past. He just lately joined the picket line in Detroit to assist the United Auto Workers of their strike in opposition to Ford Motor, General Motors and Stellantis.

Tens of hundreds of well being employees walked out of Kaiser hospitals and amenities final week to protest quick staffing and demand higher pay. The strike lasted three days in California, Colorado, Oregon and Washington state. The walkout was mentioned to be the biggest health-care worker strike in U.S. historical past.

The Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions had threatened extra strikes if administration didn’t meet their calls for, significantly over quick staffing and the outsourcing of jobs.

Julie Su, appearing labor secretary, arrives to testify in the course of the House Education and the Workforce Committee listening to titled “Examining the Policies and Priorities of the Department of Labor,” in Rayburn Building on Wednesday, June 7, 2023.

Tom Williams | CQ-Roll Call, Inc. | Getty Images

The union coalition and Kaiser executives met for bargaining classes this week. The sides reached a tentative labor contract to keep away from additional strikes after the intervention of appearing Labor Secretary Julie Su.

The agreement features a 21% pay hike over 4 years, a minimal wage of $25 in California and $23 in different states, protections in opposition to outsourcing, and quite a few investments to handle quick staffing.

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Su flew to California on Thursday night to assist facilitate the deal, based on the union coalition. Sarah Levesque, secretary-treasurer of OPEIU Local 2, mentioned Su was instrumental in brokering the deal.

“We’re extremely grateful to appearing U.S. Labor Secretary Julie Su and the Biden administration for supporting employees’ proper to collective bargaining,” Levesque mentioned.

Biden additionally praised Su’s function, “She continues to play an integral function serving to my administration and employees throughout this nation construct an financial system that works for everybody,” the president mentioned.

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