The Stand

Massage Bar employees vote to form union with OPEIU Local 8

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SEATTLE (Aug. 26, 2013) — Licensed Massage Practitioners at the Seattle-based Massage Bar, Inc. voted last week by an overwhelming margin to form a union with Office and Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU) Local 8.

opeiu8“We’re proud of our profession and forming a union will help us gain more recognition,” says Tonya Zarlengo, an 8-year employee and member of the Organizing Committee.

Massage Bar, Inc. was founded in 1993 by Cary Cruea with a mission to introduce the traveling public to the benefits of massage therapy. Massage Bar is recognized as a pioneer and leader in airport seated massage and has locations in Nashville, Washington D.C., Pittsburgh, Boise and Cincinnati. Seattle-based employees work at SeaTac Airport and the Washington Convention Center. Earlier this year, employees at the Sacramento branch voted to join OPEIU Local 29.

Employees contacted OPEIU Local 8 in the early summer to get help addressing a cutback in shift hours, seemingly to avoid future requirements of the Affordable Care Act.

“We lack the basic benefits many health professionals enjoy, like access to affordable health care or paid sick leave. We hope to work in partnership with management to make improvements that will benefit employees and the company,” said Tom Tanouye, a 17 year employee.

Heather Parent, a newer employee, said, “This is really groundbreaking for our industry.”

Employees hope to start contract negotiations shortly.

OPEIU Local 8 is a statewide union has members at Group Health, Sea Mar Community Health Center, Seattle Housing Authority, Providence Regional Medical Center Everett, and many other health and social service organizations.

Short URL: http://www.thestand.org/?p=26203

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