PORTLAND, Ore. — Pharmacy healthcare workers at Kaiser Permanente medical facilities in Oregon and Southwest Washington will begin a 21-day unfair labor practices (ULP) strike on Sunday at 6 a.m., according to the union that represents the workers.

The 21-day ULP strike by pharmacy workers is independent from a planned three-day strike by more than 75,000 healthcare workers at Kaiser Permanente facilities across Oregon, Washington, California, Colorado, Virginia and Washington D.C. That strike is scheduled to last from Oct. 4-6.

A spokesperson for UFCW Local 555 told KGW that they broke away from the coalition behind the three-day strike because they felt they could better meet the bargaining needs for pharmacy and imaging healthcare workers if they were independent from the coalition.

RELATED: Oregon and Washington Kaiser workers vote to authorize strike with Sept. 30 deadline

The UFCW Local 555 said pharmacy and imaging workers voted on the 21-day strike between Sept. 10 and 16. Pharmacy workers will start picketing every day at four Portland metro area locations from 6 a.m. until 7 p.m. from Sunday until Saturday, Oct. 21, when the ULP strike is scheduled to end.

Only pharmacy workers, whose contract runs out Sunday, will be involved in the ULP strike because the contract for imaging workers lasts another month, a union spokesperson said.

During months-long negotiations between the union and Kaiser Permanente, UFCW Local 555 said the union bargaining team has asked for first-year wage adjustments, increased wage differentials for nights and weekends, and increased staffing.

The union said the staffing crisis has led to a decline in the quality of services provided to patients. They’ve accused Kaiser Permanente of committing unfair labor practices, including a lack of information about bargaining and grievances, attempts to deal directly with union members, and trying to dictate who can serve as union representative.

Picketing, which starts Sunday, will take place at the following locations in Portland, Clackamas and Hillsboro.

  • Kaiser Sunnyside Medical Center Campus: 10180 Southeast Sunnyside Road, Clackamas
  • Kaiser Westside Medical Center Campus: 2875 Northeast Stucki Avenue, Hillsboro
  • Kaiser Regional Lab: 13705 Northeast Airport Way C, Portland
  • Kaiser Airport Way Center: 5717, 5721 and 5725 Northeast 138th Avenue, Portland

Debbie Karman, a representative for Kaiser Permanente, told KGW that since UFCW Local 555 split from the national Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions (which has organized the the three-day strike from Oct. 4-6) a few weeks ago, UFCW Local 555 has been “unwilling to bargain with us.”

Karman said Kaiser Permanente feels UFCW Local 555’s call for a strike is “premature and unwarranted” and that Kaiser hopes to reach an agreement with them. “We’ve got a solid offer on the table that addresses their economic and staffing concerns,” Karman said.

According to Karman, Kaiser Permanente has hired more than 50,000 employees across the country in the past two years, including 22,000 so far this year, of which more than 9,800 hires are for jobs represented by the coalition. During bargaining in April with the coalition, the two sides agreed to a joint goal of hiring 10,000 new people for coalition-represented jobs by the end of 2023 and Karman said Kaiser expects to reach that goal by the end of October.

“And we won’t stop there,” Karman said. She added that Kaiser Permanente’s turnover rate is 7%, below the industry overage of more than 21%. “We are committed to addressing every area of staffing that is still challenging. We’ve also taken actions to streamline the screening, hiring and onboarding process.”

Karman said Kaiser Permanente has contingency plans in place to make sure members and patients have access to pharmacy services during the strike. For more information, visit kp.org/pharmacy.

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