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Community Health Care workers set strike for Aug. 9-10

TACOMA (Aug. 1) — Healthcare workers at Community Health Care have delivered notice of their intention to strike on two days, August 9 and 10, over unaffordable healthcare increases coupled with frozen wages as Community Health Care breaks new ground on a Hilltop clinic in Tacoma. The unfair labor practice strike is set to begin at 7:00 am Tuesday, August 9.

The healthcare workers, members of SEIU Healthcare 1199NW, and Community Health Care have been negotiating a contract for 14 months. Community Health Care has unilaterally imposed its contract terms, including increases in healthcare premiums for workers which will leave many workers without healthcare for their families.  Family insurance premiums are increasing from $338 a month to $622. Community Health Care has also implemented no cost of living increases for four years.

“Our primary focus continues to be settling a fair contract and we’ve told Community Health Care that we’re available to continue bargaining any time between now and our unfair labor practice strike. We’d like to join in the celebration of our new Hilltop clinic, but right now CHC’s mission to provide healthcare doesn’t include us. We’d like them to make the same commitment to quality care for our families that they make for our community,” said Tom Franks, a Medical Assistant at Community Health Care.

“We want to be there for our patients, but we need to be able to take care of our families and the basic necessities, too. We’ve sacrificed and made concessions on our wages and our healthcare, but this is too much. Community Health Care has dictated these cuts without negotiating with us, and that’s not right. We’re seeing millions in possible cuts to Medicaid in Congress, and we should be working on that together and they should bargain in good faith instead of taking away healthcare for workers,” said Emerita Espinoza, an Outreach Worker at Community Health Care.

Hundreds of healthcare workers from Community Health Care, along with Reps. Tami Green and Laurie Jinkins and community supporters rallied Thursday in Tacoma. Supporters chanted and carried banners while marching through the streets to the site of the new Community Health Care Hilltop Clinic.

“We should be celebrating the expansion of healthcare in our community. Instead, Community Health Care has chosen this time to take away healthcare from workers, and it’s our families and children who are paying the price. This isn’t the mission of Community Health Care,” said Ashley Blood, an Interpreter at Community Health Care.

Community Health Care provides primary medical and dental care for patients in clinics in Tacoma, Lakewood, Spanaway, and Parkland.

More than 150 healthcare workers are represented by SEIU Healthcare 1199NW at Community Health Care, including Medical Assistants, dental assistants, receptionists, interpreters, pharmacy techs, and others.

SEIU Healthcare 1199NW represents 22,000 nurses, healthcare employees, and mental health workers in hospitals, agencies, and clinics statewide.

For more information, visit or contact Linnae Riesen at 425-306-2061.

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