UFCW imaging techs settle at Kaiser
PORTLAND, OR -- Kaiser Permanente's imaging technicians ended a two-week strike Aug. 18, ratifying a new four-year agreement.
About 270 employees -- members of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 555 -- who provide X-rays, MRIs, CAT scans, mammographies, ultrasound, EKGs and EEGs at 21 locations from Longview, Wash., to Salem, Ore., voted 2-to-1 to ratify the deal.
They walked out Aug. 6 over wages and health benefits. The previous three-year contract expired in October 1996.
"It's the best deal at this time," said union spokesman John Etten. "It did entail some belt-tightening, but it was recommended by the negotiating committee and approved 2-to-1."
The new agreement contains a lump-sum bonus equal to 2 percent of an employee's salary immediately, and again in 1998 and 1999. Some employees currently paid below the community average will receive market rate wage increases in lieu of bonuses.
The employees agreed to pay $10 for an office visit and $5 for prescriptions. They will take a reduction in sick leave days from 12 to 10, drop one of three floating holidays and Kaiser will lower its contribution to their pension fund by 10 cents -- from 75 cents an hour to 65 cents.
"The ratified contract was the result of some hard bargaining by both management and the Local 555 team," said Gene Pronovost, president of the 17,000-member Tigard-based union. "Realistic solutions were found for some very emotional and difficult issues. I commend both sides for remaining focused and professional in reaching this settlement."
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