PASCO, Wash. — On Thursday, Feb. 27 at 5 p.m., employees of Tri-Cities Community Health Center (formerly La Clínica) and community supporters will gather at 715 W. Court St. to protest the organization’s attempt to eliminate collective bargaining rights and cause further economic hardship to employees who have already agreed to substantial economic concessions over the last two years. (Click here to see the rally flier.)
The event coincides with the monthly TCCH Board of Directors meeting. The TCCH Board has refused all requests from employees to hear about their attempts to reach an amicable agreement so that all possible resources can be directed towards providing quality patient care and preparing for the Affordable Care Act. Following in the footsteps of his predecessors, TCCH’s relatively new CEO, Al Cordova, has hired an attorney from the national law firm of Stoel Rives to assist in negotiations.
The union contract covering more than 100 medical and dental assistants, hygienists, medical records clerks, receptionists, mental health therapists, and other classifications expired at the end of last year. During previous contract negotiations employees represented by Office and Professional Employees Union (OPEIU) Local 8 agreed to a 3% wage cut and other financial reductions to help the community clinic through a financial shortfall.
“As dedicated health care providers we know our financial sacrifices helped our clinics and protected our workplace standards. It’s shocking to us that our employer now wants, not only more financial sacrifice, but the elimination of our most basic bargaining rights,” said Rosa Cruz, Dental Assistant and 26-year employee at TCCH. “We know this is really about weakening the rights of workers and we’re deeply disappointed the community based TCCH Board would allow this to happen again.”
TCCH has a long history of contentious labor negotiations and has had numerous complaints issued by the National Labor Relations Board in past years for committing multiple unfair labor practices.