The following was distributed by SEIU Healthcare 1199NW.
TACOMA (Nov. 23) — Healthcare workers at Community Health Care have overwhelmingly ratified a new contract agreement that lowers healthcare premiums and provides an across the board wage increase. Workers and management at Community Health Care reached agreement in recent negotiations to avert an open-ended strike that was set to begin Monday, November 14.
The healthcare workers, members of SEIU Healthcare 1199NW, struck for two days in August after Community Health Care unilaterally imposed healthcare increases and wage takeaways effective July 1, 2011, which were not fairly bargained with workers and resulted in the filing of an unfair labor practice charge against Community Health Care.
Workers hadn’t received an across the board wage increase since 2009 and unaffordable healthcare increases left many choosing between healthcare, and their mortgage, groceries, or other bills.
The new contract contains a reduction in healthcare premiums and an across the board wage increase of 1.5% over the life of the 18 month contract.
“The mission of Community Health Care is to provide care for those that need it most. We’d like to move forward with this agreement and continue advocating for our patients at the local and state level,” said Ashley Blood, an Interpreter-Scheduler.
The new contract was ratified Wednesday, November 23, and will be effective through May 31, 2013.
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. Visit www.seiu1199nw.org.