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Important message to our Northern California Pharmacists about Kaiser Permanente’s bargaining proposal

Dear Pharmacy colleague,

We are inspired by your dedication and hard work, especially over the last 20 months, as we have all been challenged by the unprecedented global pandemic. Thank you for working side by side with your colleagues to meet the needs of our members, patients, and communities during this difficult time. We have tremendous gratitude for the care, compassion, and excellence you show every day.

With that in mind, we are disappointed that after months of productive and cordial negotiations, Kaiser Permanente and the Guild for Professional Pharmacists have not reached a contract agreement. This is even though last Friday KP delivered an outstanding comprehensive proposal that contains no takeaways and fulfills the majority of what the Guild has sought. In fact, the cash value of this contract is the richest offered Guild contract in the past decade.

Given this respectful and generous proposal, it makes little sense for the union to ask you to keep waiting and potentially sacrifice your pay and time for a strike as we approach the holiday season. We want to provide you an overview of our proposal so that you can see for yourself what the Guild is refusing to allow you to vote on:

Our pharmacists will remain among the best compensated in the profession, with increased wages and incentive plan payouts.

  • You’ll receive wage increases over 4 years, retroactive to June 1, 2021: 3 percent increase in year one, 2 percent and a 2 percent lump sum bonus in years 2, 3, and 4.
  • Plus, an increase in your incentive plan payout by more than 120%, to a maximum of $4,000 a year (up from $1,800, which has been the maximum for a decade). Average payouts in 2018-2021 have been $1,600/year. Under our proposal similar performance would merit an average of $3,600 each year for you.

Your retirement plan and retiree medical benefits are secure and will grow. Defined Contribution Plan matches will increase by over 225%, and Health Retirement Account (HRA) contributions will go up, as will the increased additional supplement when a retiree reaches age 85.

  • The Defined Contribution Plan match will increase to 3 percent for those hired after 6/1/2009 – a 225% increase.
  • There are no changes or takeaways to the Defined Benefit (pension) Plan.
  • There are no changes or takeaways to your retiree medical coverage.
  • You’ll receive a significant increase in Kaiser Permanente’s contribution to your Health Retirement Account: those who qualify and retire after 1/1/2022 will receive $2,000 for each year of service (up from the current $1,800) and an additional supplement of $10,000 (up from $8,000) at age 85.

You will be eligible for significantly increased differential wages – as proposed by the Guild.

  • For weekend hours: increasing 300 percent to $2.00 (up from $.50)
  • For on-call/short hours: increasing to $3.50 (up from $2.50)
  • For stand-by: increasing to $5.00 (up from $4.00)

Kaiser Permanente and the Guild have already made 20 tentative agreements on important operational matters.

  • The overwhelming majority of these tentative agreements are plusses for Guild members.
  • Tentative agreements include an increase in guaranteed vacation hours during annual bidding, improvements in awarding vacant shifts, clarifications of overtime pay, improved conversion processes, posting of vacant shifts, overtime scheduling and posting, scheduling comp time, and bidding seniority.

Over the life of the 4-year agreement the average cash value of KP’s offer is more than $18,100 PER YEAR for full-time Guild-represented-employees. Under KP’s proposal, increased base wages could total over $44,000 for the life of the contract. On top of that, add in a potential total of $11,300 in lump sum payments. That’s over $55,700.

In an added effort to try and reach agreement today in good faith, we also offered a ratification bonus of $1,000 for each Guild member if this package is accepted by noon, Wednesday, October 27 and ratified by the unit by noon, Friday, October 29. It is our desire to have a ratified agreement by the Guild bargaining unit and we believe our offer to be generous and equitable. There are no future bargaining dates scheduled at this time.

The ratification bonus, DC contribution, Incentive Plan, and retroactive pay increases were offered on condition of the ratification dates above and will automatically sunset if a ratification vote is not achieved by the scheduled date.

An overview of KP’s proposal and facts to dispel some myths about the details of our proposal are attached.

We’re very disappointed that the Guild has not agreed to put the proposal to you for a vote. We don’t believe that a proposal this generous and respectful would warrant union leaders to ask you to participate in a futile, disruptive, and costly strike for all of us. Please encourage your union leaders to give you the opportunity to make up your own mind and allow you to vote.

We hold you and your colleagues in the highest regard, and our proposal reflects that. You are essential members of the Kaiser Permanente team and we are inspired every day by your dedication and hard work. Thank you for your many contributions to the health and well-being of our members and patients.


Debora Catsavas                                              Kathryn R. Brown, PharmD

Senior Vice President, Human Resources         Chief Operating Officer

Kaiser Permanente Northern California             Kaiser Permanente Pharmacy Market Operations


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