Kaiser Permanente reaches tentative agreement with workers to avoid strike

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Kaiser Permanente announced Wednesday that it reached a tentative agreement to avoid a nationwide strike of more than 80,000 workers in October. 

Kaiser says the contract settlement with a coalition of three of its unions will establish a $130 million workforce development program. 

The nonprofit health care giant plans to create a program to reduce the national shortage of health workers plus provide annual pay increases.

They also say they're committed to restoring the partnership between workers and management. 

An 11-union coalition still has to approve the four-year deal in order to avert the strike scheduled to begin on Oct. 14. 

The deal includes 3 percent raises in each of the four years for workers in California, Oregon and southern Washington. 

For other states, the deal means a 3 percent raise the first year and 2 percent plus a 1 percent lump sum the following three years with an opportunity to turn the lump sums into regular raises if the company hits specified financial benchmarks, the unions said. 

The deal also includes provisions on no job outsourcing or subcontractors for a specific list of jobs during the four-year contract period. 

"Reaching an agreement was not easy, it had lots of twists and turns, but in the end we accomplished what we set out to do -- reach an agreement that is good for patients, workers and our communities," said Georgette Bradford, a union member and ultrasound technologist at Kaiser in Sacramento.

The agreement comes following nearly five months of bargaining. A vote by the various unions on the contract is expected at the end of October. 

Bay City News contributed to this report.