UFCW Local 555 ends dispute with Kaiser


About 950 Kaiser Permanente pharmacy and imaging department workers in Oregon and Southwest Washington have new union contracts at last. As of April 13, five months after a strike by workers in the two units, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 555 members ratified new four-year collective bargaining agreements with the health system. 

The pharmacy tech and warehouse agreement runs Oct. 1, 2023 to Sept. 30, 2027, and the imaging services agreement runs Nov. 1, 2023 to Oct. 31, 2027. 

Local 555’s contract settlement means an end to the company’s listing as an “unfair” employer. Oregon AFL-CIO and Northwest Oregon Labor Council designated Kaiser as unfair last October and discouraged unions from entering into new health care agreements or renewing existing agreements with Kaiser until Local 555 members ratified a new contract. Local 555’s joint union-employer health trust itself dropped Kaiser Permanente as a health care option for about 10,000 of its members. Meanwhile, DropKP.org — a website the union created Oct. 18 to encourage patients to drop Kaiser — has been taken down.

The agreement is the first in decades to be negotiated by Local 555 on its own. Starting in the late 1990s, Local 555 members at Kaiser bargained as part of the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions, but in 2018, 22 locals — including Local 555 and 10 other UFCW locals — left and formed a separate coalition called the Alliance for Health Care Unions. Local 555 left that breakaway alliance in 2020 and rejoined the original coalition, only to leave it again in October 2024.

The Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions then waged the largest-ever health care strike in the United States Oct. 4-6, with nearly 75,000 workers, and ended the strike with new contracts that provide 21% raises over four years. That settlement includes 4,140 members of Portland-based SEIU Local 49.

By email, Local 555 spokesperson Miles Eshaia said members at Kaiser approved the new agreements near-unanimously. Eshaia said Local 555 does not typically share details of its contracts publicly.

“These agreements will help ensure we remain a best place to work and receive care,” said Kaiser Permanente in an emailed statement. “We look forward to working with UFCW 555 to advance our mission of providing high-quality, affordable health care services and improving the health of our members and the communities we serve.”


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