(July 15, 2014) — Members of United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 21 are celebrating two recently ratified contract victories covering a combined 1,600 employees at Skagit Regional Hospital and Harrison Medical Center.
Skagit Regional Hospital: In September 2012, some 900 SRH employees voted to be represented by UFCW Local 21. SRH is a northwest Washington public hospital and clinic system that is Skagit County’s largest employer.
“We’re looking for respect,” said Fred Barnum, who had worked for five years in the hospital’s materials management department, following the vote to join the union. “We want fair treatment with wage scales, job security and seniority.”
They got that in late June when 85.9% voted to approve a historic first contract. UFCW 21 says that the deal “includes a wage increase that reflects their length of service, more respect and a voice on the job along with many other benefits that come with a union contract.”
Many SRH workers have not had a wage increase in seven years. The Skagit Valley Herald reports that contract agreement provides all union workers a guaranteed wage increase of at least 4 percent from their base wage, with an additional 2 percent in January.
Harrison Medical Center: After a year of very intense negotiations that came close to a strike in June, UFCW Local 21 announced last week that about 700 professional and technical workers at Harrison Medical Center in Bremerton and Silverdale voted last week by a 98% margin to approve a new contract.
The long campaign was different than most Harrison negotiations over the past several decades and even included a overwhelmingly approved strike authorization. It was after that vote for a strike authorization that bargaining finally took a turn for the better and a tentative agreement was reached, according to the union.
UFCW 21 says the HMC contract includes:
► Keeping the three year contract going through March of 2017.
► Wage increase and bonus package.
► Maintaining the Health and Wellness plan with funding for the term of the contract.
► Maintaining the ability for union workers to stand with fellow union workers in the case of a dispute.
► Improvement of the grievance procedure.
► Expanded access.
UFCW 21 is the largest private-sector union in Washington, with more than 43,000 members working in grocery store, retail, health care, and other industry jobs. Learn more at ufcw21.org.