Kaiser Permanente imaging technologists strike, seeking 42% pay increase

More than 900 imaging technologists and pharmacy personnel with the Kaiser Permanente health system are on strike this week as their union seeks a new four-year contract.

Represented by the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 555, the 560 radiology professionals and 380 pharmacy workers are asking the healthcare giant for a 42% pay increase over their previous contract.

“Without imaging technologists and pharmacy technicians, you don't have a hospital. You don't have one that's functional,” UFCW Communications Coordinator Miles Eshaia said, according to KATU, the Oregon-based ABC affiliate.

Both sides held a bargaining session on Monday, with a Kaiser representative labeling the union’s request as “frankly, not reasonable,” the TV station reported. More than 75,000 Kaiser workers chose to strike in October amid contract negotiations, but UFCW Local 555 is negotiating separately from the coalition.

“We have a strong offer on the table that includes significant wage increases and generous benefits,” Kaiser, which also owns a health plan, said in a statement shared with KATU. “We call on UFCW 555 to be reasonable in their demands, and bargain with us to reach an agreement so our imaging and pharmacy employees can return to the important work of caring for our members.”

Imaging workers in Oregon and southwest Washington first announced on Oct. 31 that they’d be joining the picket line the following day. They warned patients at the time to expect delays or cancellations of appointments with Kaiser struggling to find qualified replacements. Professionals on strike cover services including X-ray, mammography, CT, nuclear medicine, EEG, cardiovascular labs, special procedure technologists, sonographers, dosimetrists, radiation therapists and imaging assistants.

Marty Stempniak

Marty Stempniak has covered healthcare since 2012, with his byline appearing in the American Hospital Association's member magazine, Modern Healthcare and McKnight's. Prior to that, he wrote about village government and local business for his hometown newspaper in Oak Park, Illinois. He won a Peter Lisagor and Gold EXCEL awards in 2017 for his coverage of the opioid epidemic. 

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