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Pierce healthcare workers to picket for health care

While the Franciscan and MultiCare health care systems continue to make hundreds of millions of dollars in profits each year, healthcare workers at St. Joseph Medical Center, St. Clare Hospital, and Good Samaritan Hospital struggle to afford healthcare for themselves and their families.

The healthcare workers at the three hospitals, members of SEIU Healthcare 1199NW, have delivered notice of their intention to conduct an unfair labor practice informational picket outside St. Joe’s and St. Clare’s; and also at Good Samaritan on Tuesday, May 1 to call on the hospitals to put the healthcare needs of the community before their profits. The healthcare workers will picket before and after shifts, and during their breaks.

TAKE A STAND! You can support these healthcare workers by joining in a community rally at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Shiloh Baptist Church, 1211 South I St. in Tacoma, or by simply stopping by the hospital pickets and giving them a thumbs-up!

“We put patients first every day in our work at St. Joe’s, St. Clare’s, and Good Sam. We want to make sure every patient gets the best care, and be able to care for our families, too,” said Grace Land, a Central Supply Tech at Good Samaritan Hospital. “But right now we’re struggling to afford the same healthcare we provide.”

“We’re paying more for our healthcare than other hospitals, but they’re making more money on our patients than anybody else in the state. That’s not right,” said Chrystal Thompson, working in sterile supply at St. Clare Hospital.

A recently released report from Washington Community Action Network highlighted that the profitable hospitals make $1,000 profit per equivalent patient visits than the average for hospitals statewide.

According to a recent poll, 84% of surveyed Pierce County residents believe Pierce County hospitals need to focus more on care, and less on profits.

“Providing healthcare is our top priority, and we want to make sure that care is accessible to everyone in the community, including those of us who work within the hospitals, too,” said Nancy Taylor, a Care Assistant at St. Joseph Medical Center.

The two hospital systems are among the most profitable in the state, with the Franciscan Health System posting hospital operating profits of $147 million, and MultiCare Health System reporting $95 million in hospital operating profits according to the most recently available Washington Department of Health hospital financial reports.

Franciscan Health Systems CEO Joseph Wilczek collected more than $1 million in total compensation, and Multicare’s CEO Diane Cecchettini collected in excess of $2 million, according to the most recent data reported to the IRS. Six executives at MultiCare Health Systems make over $1 million in compensation per year.

SEIU Healthcare 1199NW represents more than 700 healthcare workers at Good Samaritan Hospital, more than 400 at St. Clare Hospital, and more than 800 at St. Joseph Medical Center.

The collective bargaining agreements expired August 31, 2010 for workers at St. Clare Hospital, and October 31, 2010 for workers at Good Samaritan Hospital and St. Joseph Medical Center.


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

CHECK OUT THE UNION DIFFERENCE in Washington: higher wages, affordable health and dental care, job and retirement security.

FIND OUT HOW TO JOIN TOGETHER with your co-workers to negotiate for better wages, benefits, and a voice at work. Or go ahead and contact a union organizer today!