Pharmacists eyeing strike against Kaiser Permanente

May 9, 2014

Pharmacists who work at Kaiser Permanente in Southern California recently picketed outside the company’s offices to protest a lack of progress in contract negotiations. And the union that represents the pharmacists is threatening a strike.

Pharmacists who work at Kaiser Permanente in Southern California recently picketed outside the company’s offices to protest a lack of progress in contract negotiations. And the union that represents the pharmacists is threatening a strike.

“Our committee and Kaiser are currently revising the contract that determines wages, benefits, and retirement but have unfortunately made little to no progress,” Tony Delgado of the Woodland-Hills based Guild for Professional Pharmacists told Hollywood Patch.

Delgado accused Kaiser of being unwilling to agree to “any kind of fair compensation for its pharmacy workers.” He said Kaiser would prefer to cut benefits. The Guild for Professional Pharmacists represents nearly 4,000 pharmacists in six states.

A Kaiser spokeswoman, Socorro Serrano, confirmed that Kaiser is in contract talks with its pharmacists in Southern California. She said all Kaiser facilities are open and operating.

“Our first priority is always the safety and care of our members and patients,” Serrano said. “While we recognize the Guild’s legal right to carry out such actions, we believe the bargaining table is the best place to resolve differences and address the interests we both share.”

 

Delgado said the pharmacists would go on strike if they don’t see a satisfactory agreement. “That would not only affect Kaiser and pharmacists but most importantly patients requiring medication and prescriptions,” he said.

According to a posting on the union’s website, two of the negotiation sticking points are pay increases and the reinstatement of a pension. The union also distributed a letter to the public urging patients to contact Kaiser in support of the pharmacists.

“Kaiser is treating pharmacists unfairly and we are in great need of your support right now! Please help us continue to provide the great service we enjoy delivering to you!” the letter urged.

The letter advised patients to call Kaiser officials and say: “I have heard that Kaiser is treating its trusted pharmacists unfairly and this upsets me…. I’d like Kaiser to treat its pharmacists fairly.”