DENVER (CBS4) – Kaiser Permanente says it has reached an agreement with its employee union to avoid a strike. The union expects to make ratify it by the end of October.

The four-year tentative agreement affects 85,000 employees across 11 unions and includes pay increases and maintains employee benefits.

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“This agreement is a testament to the dedication, compassion and skill those employees bring to work every day and demonstrates that Kaiser Permanente and the Coalition have a shared commitment to affordability for our members,” said Arlene Peasnall, interim chief human resources officer of Kaiser Permanente Health Plan and Hospitals.

It took nearly five months of bargaining between groups. If ratified, the contract will be effective Oct. 1.

Tentative agreement details:

• Solid wage increases: Guaranteed wage increases each year through 2023 in Northern and Southern California, Colorado, Hawaii, the Mid-Atlantic States (northern Virginia, Maryland and Washington DC), Northwest (Oregon and southwest Washington), and Washington.

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• Opportunities for career growth: Kaiser Permanente employees will have the opportunity to move into new roles in a training capacity after pursuing the education needed for the job, at an adjusted Step 1 pay scale; they are guaranteed they will not make less than in their former position. Once experience requirements are met, they will continue in the normal steps for the position at the full rate.

• Workforce Development Fund: A new multimillion-dollar fund will be created to provide educational opportunities for Californians who may not otherwise be able to pursue a career in health care.

• Retirement security: The Agreement preserves the existing defined benefit pension plan along with other strong retirement benefits.

• Outsourcing: The parties have agreed to a list of jobs that will not be outsourced or subcontracted for the life of the contract.

• Career mobility: The Agreement offers an additional $250 for employee travel as part of the tuition reimbursement program, raising the total to $750.

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• Affordable health care: The Agreement includes a pharmacy utilization approach that incents employees to utilize the more efficient mail-order prescription service.