October 19, 2021
SAN DIEGO – UFCW union members at Kaiser Permanente locations throughout Southern California overwhelmingly rejected the company’s offer and have given their unions authority to strike if a new deal can’t be made.
These frontline healthcare professionals, members of UFCW Locals 135, 324, 770, 1167, 1428 and 1442, have given their all during the pandemic to provide the best care possible to their patients. Yet, Kaiser has taken an inflexible and shameful position at the bargaining table, forcing these workers to fight for what they feel they deserve.
UFCW Local 135 represents over 400 pharmacy and laboratory workers in San Diego County, including pharmacy techs, pharmacy assistants, clinical laboratory scientists, medical laboratory technicians, and others.
The national agreement with Kaiser Permanente expired on Sept. 30, and the local agreements for pharmacy and lab expire November 1 and February 1, respectively.
Over the last few months, labor organizations that are part of the Alliance of Health Care Unions have been attempting to negotiate new national and local agreements with Kaiser to no avail. UFCW Local 135 and other SoCal UFCW Locals are part of the Alliance, as well as United Nurses Association of California/Union of Health Care Professionals (21,000 workers), United Steelworkers (7400 workers), and others. Members of UNAC and the Steelworkers took strike votes earlier this month, giving strike authority.
“I’m proud of our members at Kaiser Permanente for standing together during contract negotiations and choosing to take their work future in their own hands,” says Grant Tom, Secretary-Treasurer of UFCW Local 135. “Though a strike is a last resort, taking this vote gives us a powerful tool to wield at the bargaining table to help negotiate these frontline healthcare professionals the best contract possible.”
Kaiser Permanente’s intransigence at the negotiating table has led their workers to take this step. With strike authority given to union leadership, these dedicated union members await the results from upcoming bargaining sessions, ready to take action.
United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 135, has a membership of approximately 12,000 workers and nearly 7000 retirees throughout San Diego and Imperial Counties. Members consist of workers in various fields including grocery & retail, health, pharmacy & dental, meat & sugar processing, gaming, and cannabis. UFCW Local 135 is part of the 1.3 million member strong UFCW International.