Kaiser Permanente reaches deal to avoid strike involving 1,200 pharmacists

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Kaiser pharmacies opened on Monday morning, despite warnings that they might be closed because of a pharmacist strike.

"I was very happy, I heard it on the news this morning and thought oh this is going to make my day so much better," said Mary Robbers, who had an appointment at the Kaiser medical center in Walnut Creek Monday morning.

The pharmacists were scheduled to strike Monday, but a deal was reached at 1 a.m. between the medical company and the union representing 2100 pharmacy employees.

RELATED: Kaiser Permanente workers to go on strike demanding higher pay, better working conditions

Some Kaiser patients rushed to fulfill their prescriptions over the weekend, just in case.

Others said they were ready to support the workers.

"I was proud of them for striking. It's good to strike and try to get paid more," said Anya Moore of Concord.

"I would not have used the pharmacy. I would have supported their strike. Striking for that kind of stuff is important," Moore said.

Kaiser said the deal includes wage increases each year of the contract.

The threat of a pharmacist strike came as Kaiser was already dealing with an engineer strike. Those employees have been on the picket line since last month.

RELATED: Bay Area Kaiser nurses picket over patient home care program, but it's not a strike
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Bay Area Kaiser nurses are protesting a program called Medically Home, which provides care for a patient in their home rather than in the hospital.



Some patients say all this talk of tense labor negotiations makes them feel uncertain about what to do.

"I am not quite sure what all is going on with Kaiser. I still see signs and stuff. I support the workers but it is hard when it is your healthcare because you still need to provide healthcare for your little ones," Katrina Hunn of Pleasant Hill said outside the Walnut Creek facility Monday morning, as an engineer picketer carrying a sign walked by.

A Kaiser spokesperson said negotiations are still ongoing with the union representing the engineers.

The union representing the pharmacists did not return our calls for reaction after the deal was made.

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