Monday, July 2, 2001

Local 5 members
at Kaiser reach
labor agreement

The three-year pact affects about
1,700 hospital and clinic workers

By Russ Lynch

The union representing some 1,700 workers at Kaiser hospitals and clinics around the islands said it has reached agreement on a new three-year labor agreement.

In addition to an overall increase of about 10 percent over three years, Kaiser workers will get about a 2 percent increase in benefits through the life of the new agreement, said Tony Rutledge of Local 5 of the Hotel Employees & Restaurant Employees union, who headed the union's negotiating team with Arlene Ilae.

Kaiser agreed to upgrade some positions, which could improve benefits beyond those in the tentative pact, and to look into upgrading its licensed practical nurses and their medical assistants. Even without an upgrade, licensed practical nurses will see their pay go to about $18.50 an hour by 2004, from the current $16.76, Rutledge said.

There are improvements in working shifts and other conditions and Kaiser agreed to maintain the current "excellent" health plan for the union members, Rutledge said.

Agreement was reached late Saturday, a few hours before the last contract was due to expire. Subject to ratification by the rank and file union members, the new pact will be in effect from today through June 30, 2004.

Aside from the licensed practical nurses, Local 5 members at Kaiser include housekeepers, maintenance staff, grounds keepers, pharmacy technicians, accounting personnel and most patient care technicians except for x-ray and laboratory workers.

A ratification vote will take place this week.

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