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October 18, 2023

Matthew Fontana Addresses Health Care Union Contracts With Law360

Law360 turned to labor and employment partner Matthew Fontana for insight on Kaiser Permanente workers voting on a new tentative labor agreement and the potential impact on future union contracts in the health care industry.

Fontana said the raises are significant over the life of the contract and will have an effect on negotiations between other employers and unions going forward. While the specific terms will need to be scaled for employers that are not as large as Kaiser, Fontana explained that the wage increases serve to “reset the market” for future bargaining. “It’s certainly going to be an important reference point for unions.”

Fontana noted it’s hard to assess how much the Kaiser strike impacted the final deal, as strikes at health care facilities are always impactful because of the nature of the industry. Beyond its effect on the specific contract the unions were able to negotiate, Fontana said the strike at Kaiser is an example of unions feeling more emboldened to strike, and each action is contributing to that atmosphere. “The efficacy of any one strike is hard to measure, but it certainly is creating a climate of labor instability.”

The full article is available for Law360 subscribers.

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