Health Care Workers Union Local 250 in Northern California ratified a new contract with Kaiser Permanente on a 72%-28% vote. The local represents 14,000 Kaiser employees.
The union and the huge HMO company had been at loggerheads for many months on terms of a new contract to cover medical assistants, clerical and technical workers, licensed vocational nurses, food servers and housekeepers. A mediator produced a tentative pact in late May.
The new contract includes better job security, a three-year wage freeze, a $5 copayment for drugs, and health and bereavement coverage for domestic partners.
Local 250 said its main priority now will be to work for passage of the HMO Patient's Rights Initiative, a ballot measure in California that would tightly regulate the HMO industry.