Pharmacists Could Strike At Kaiser Permanente

Southern California Kaiser Permanente pharmacists, represented by the Guild For Professional Pharmacists, have notified Kaiser Permanente of the Guild’s intention to strike, following a breakdown in contract negotiations.

The strike would affect over 100 pharmacies across southern California including several in the Coachella Valley. The strike would stop work on Thurday and Friday April 21st and 22nd.

One of the goals of the strike is to prove how important pharmacists are to the hospital. “Oh, very, very important,” said Kaiser member James Petersen. “In this environment here where we have a lot of seniors, everybody needs their pharmacy and it’s going to be a real inconvenience if there’s a prolonged strike.”

Although negotiations are still ongoing, some patients are already dealing with inconveniences. “They told me that I could pick up my prescription on Thursday, and they called me this morning and told me that it wouldn’t be ready until Monday,” said David Schmoll. “That’s not acceptable, this isn’t right.”

One of the major points of contention in the negotiations has to do with a cutting of benefits for pharmacists. “Basically cut in half, actually to a third of what they have now,” said Guild for Professional Pharamcists’ representative Cheryl Asperger. “And, they would be working alongside the other people in the Pharmacy and the hospital who actually have much better benefits and they want us to do this, for the next couple of years. We believe it’s extremely unfair.”

Kaiser Permanente Director of Media Relations Jim Anderson responded with this written statement:

“These pharmacists are valued members of our team. We will welcome them back to the job when their strike is concluded, will continue to reach a fair and equitable contract with them…While our outpatient pharmacies will be closed during this 48-hour work stoppage, we have contracted with Walgreens pharmacies, so that members who need a new or refilled prescription during the strike will be able to have their prescriptions filled.”