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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Washington Kaiser Permanente workers call off strike after reaching tentative contract agreement

Kaiser employees rally outside Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center last month. Kaiser workers in Washington never went on strike and on Thursday ratified a new contract.  (Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times)

Health care giant Kaiser Permanente and its Washington workers have reached a tentative contract just days before a scheduled strike statewide.

Details of the four-year labor contract will not be made available until after it is approved in a ratification vote, which begins on Wednesday. That was the day workers across Washington were set to go on a weeklong strike over their staffing and salary demands.

There are 3,000 workers employed in 36 facilities across the state – including 120 employees among four Spokane-area facilities. These workers include nurses, medical assistants, technicians, housekeeping staff, physical therapists, social workers, community resource specialists and others.

Because their current contract did not end until this week, Washington Kaiser employees were unable to participate in a nationwide strike of Kaiser workers last month, which has been called the largest health care strike in U.S. history.

The Service Employees International Union, which represents the Kaiser Permanente workers, said in a statement that the new statewide contract “complements” the tentative agreement reached by the national Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions earlier this month.

“If ratified, the agreements offer SEIU Healthcare 1199NW members and Coalition-represented employees competitive wages, excellent benefits, generous retirement income plans, and valuable job training opportunities that support their economic well-being, advance our shared mission, and keep Kaiser Permanente a best place to work and receive care,” reads the SEIU and Kaiser Permanente joint statement.