Kaiser Permanente has advised its patients to fill all necessary prescriptions ahead of a weeklong union pharmacist strike scheduled to begin Nov. 15.
Kaiser Permanente and the Sacramento-based Professional Pharmacists Guild, which represents Kaiser Permanente pharmacists in Northern California, have been in contract negotiations since July 31, when the pharmacists’ contract ended, according to the union.
Kaiser was given 10 days’ strike notice, as required by federal law, for what the union alleges were unfair labor practices. The impending strike notice was released on Saturday, according to both sides.
In a Tuesday statement to the Business Journal, Kaiser said his proposal included four-year salary increases, including a 3% increase in the first year and a 2% increase plus 2% bonus each of the following years.
The healthcare system added that there is a 120% increase in potential incentive payments, no changes to pharmacists’ “great medical benefits” and improvements to their pension contributions.
“In fact, the cash value of this contract is the richest contract offered to guild members by Kaiser Permanente in the past decade,” Kaiser said. “Over the term of the 4-year agreement, the average dollar value of KP’s offering is over $ 18,000 per year for full-time employees represented by the Guild.
The guild, in a statement Tuesday to the Business Journal, alleges Kaiser refused to arbitrate contract grievances, took steps to prematurely end negotiations, including engaging directly with union pharmacists, and has otherwise hampered its right and capacity to represent its members.
The guild did not provide details in its statement: “These actions have forced the guild to file several charges of unfair labor practices against Kaiser, which are currently pending before the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).”
Both sides said they are committed to trying to reach an agreement and avoid a strike.
“In the event of a strike, we will communicate information and advice to our members on how to access pharmacy services during this time,” the Kaiser statement said. “In this interim period, we encourage members to plan ahead and pick up any prescription renewals they may need during the strike or order renewals online or by phone to be delivered by mail at no cost. additional. Additional information is available at kp.org.
The Guild of Professional Pharmacists, founded in 1978, claims to represent more than 2,500 pharmacists employed at Kaiser Northern California, Kaiser Northwest (Oregon-Washington) and Southern California CVS.