2023 Wage Equity FAQs

SCAL WAGE EQUITY – Inland Empire and Kern County

FAQ’s and Important Information

For years, Kaiser Permanente has had lower-paid wage scales in the Inland Empire and Kern County than similar positions in Los Angeles and Orange County - impacting Alliance members represented by UFCW Local 770, Teamsters Local 166, and USW Local 7600.  

Our joint analysis found that some union members in the Inland Empire and Kern County were making as much as 43% less than those in comparable positions in Los Angeles and Orange Counties. 

As a result of our Alliance unity, we won additional funds to narrow the gap in the wages of the job classifications that are the furthest behind their LA and OC peers. 

We know many of you have questions. Please review the list of frequently asked questions below. 

1. What is the purpose of the wage scale adjustments?

The bargained wage adjustments are designed to reduce the difference between KP wage rates in Los Angeles County and the KP wage rates in Inland Empire/Kern County for comparable jobs. 

In bargaining the Alliance made the case that the difference in wage rates within the same company and market had a negative impact on employee morale and retention and created inequity within the KP workforce.  

2. What did we win?

Effective July 1, 2022, Kaiser Permanente allocated 1.25% of payroll to each UFCW Local 770 Kern, USW 7600 and IBT 166 bargaining unit, to close the gap between wages in Los Angeles and the Inland Empire and Kern County. 

Effective July 1, 2023, KP will allocate an additional 1.25% of payroll to each UFCW Local 770 Kern, USW 7600 and IBT 166 bargaining unit, to continue to close the gap between these wages in KP’s SCAL region.

The combined estimated value of these allocations is over $13 million to the four impacted bargaining units of UFCW Local 770, IBT Local 166 and USW 7600. 

3. How much funding is set aside for the wage equity adjustments?

The national agreement set aside an amount of money for these adjustments, and provided that the Alliance, the three local unions involved (USW 7600, IBT 166, and UFCW 770) would bargain with KP to determine how to allocate available funding.  The total dollar value of these adjustments is about $6.5 million in 2022, and an additional $6.7 million in 2023.  

4. How were the wage scale adjustments determined?

Labor and management met to match the wage scales and job descriptions in the Inland Empire/Kern to KP scales in Los Angeles County.  Job titles are not exactly the same across Southern California, so labor and management had to agree on which job titles matched.  Once the job matches were determined, we identified for each bargaining unit which jobs had the biggest gap to Los Angeles rates.  Because funds were limited, we decided to concentrate first on bringing up those pay scales which were furthest below Los Angeles.

5. Why are employees in the Inland Empire and Kern paid less than employees in Los Angeles, and why was nothing done about this before?

The difference in pay between IE/Kern and Los Angeles goes back many decades, even before the first national agreement in 2000. Union leadership in UFCW, USW, and IBT have tried for many years to get this issue addressed at the national bargaining table. 

Unfortunately, until the founding of the Alliance, consensus could never be reached to make this a proposal in national bargaining. The unions who established the Alliance made a commitment to each other and to their members to fight for the issues of all Alliance unions, and for fair treatment for all Alliance members regardless of union.   

In the 2021 negotiations all Alliance unions stood with the leadership of UFCW, USW, and IBT to support this issue, because it is the fair thing to do.  With the support of all the Alliance Unions, we were able to make this a top priority for national negotiations.  

6. Is everyone in Kern and the Inland Empire getting a wage scale adjustment?

No.  With limited funding available, we decided to prioritize those jobs which are farthest below the Los Angeles rates.  For example, there are positions in the Inland Empire that are as much as 20% or 30% below the comparable KP job in Los Angeles, while there are other positions that are 2% below Los Angeles rates.   

In the 2023 pay scale adjustments, we increased scales for 62 jobs in USW 7600 contract, 19 jobs in IBT 166 contract, and 19 jobs in UFCW 770.  A total of 5,109 employees will benefit from these adjustments in 2023.  

7. Will everyone who receives an adjustment get the same amount?

No. For those receiving adjustments, the amount of the increase will vary based on how far below Los Angeles rates the job currently is.  For example, someone whose job is 25% below LA rates will get a larger increase than someone whose job is 18% below LA rates.  

8. After these adjustments will we make the same as Los Angeles Kaiser Permanente employees?

No. Although we were successful in bargaining over $13 million in pay scale adjustments in 2022 and 2023, that is not enough to move everybody up to LA wages. We have significantly narrowed the gap for those jobs which are farthest below Los Angeles. Full parity is an issue that would have to be addressed in future rounds of negotiations.  

9. What about seniority steps, longevity pay, and other contractual pay practices?

These contractually bargained pay practices will continue.  For example, when a pay scale receives a wage adjustment, every step on that pay scale will be increased by that adjustment so that employees continue to receive step increases in future years.  For contracts which provide longevity pay on top of the wage scale, that longevity pay will continue on top of the new scale. 

All employees will receive the October 1, 2023 Across-the-Board increase whether or not they received a pay scale adjustment in July.

10. Why are these increases only affecting members of USW, IBT, and UFCW 770?

Other bargaining units including UNAC/UHCP units, KPNAA, and UFCW Clinical Laboratory Scientists already have region-wide wage scales.  Employees in these bargaining units are already paid the same scales region-wide.  Therefore, they are not receiving wage scale adjustments. 

11. How do these wage increases impact Across-The-Board increases outlined in the AHCU National Agreement?

These SCAL Wage Equity increases are in addition to any ATBs in our national agreement.

12. What should I do if I have questions about the amount of the pay scale adjustment, or how my pay scale adjustment was calculated?

Employees should first talk with their local union.  Remember, we concentrated available funds on those jobs farthest below LA, to narrow the huge gap some jobs had with LA rates.  These employees will still be below LA, but the gap has been narrowed. Having reduced the biggest gaps, we expect to make further progress in future rounds of national and local bargaining.   

We hope to have answered most of your questions. If you have questions or concerns, please reach out to your local union for more information.