BREMERTON — UFCW 21, the union that represents health care workers at Harrison Medical Center (HMC) in Kitsap County is encouraging all union members and community supporters to attend a rally and hearing this Friday, Sept. 8 at the Bremerton School District Office, 134 Marion Ave N., to stand together for quality health care in Bremerton. The community rally will take place at 9:30 a.m., immediately prior to an important hearing on the potential closure of campus.
HMC employees and their union have declared their opposition CHI Franciscan Health’s plan to close the Bremerton campus. UFCW 21 joins along with many in the community to say that, instead of cutting staff, closing a hospital and outsourcing work, CHI Franciscan should improve staffing levels, keep more union workers on the job serving patients, and maintain hospital beds in the largest city in Kitsap County. That path would be better for health care workers, patients and the community.
Speakers at Friday’s rally will include representatives from UFCW 21, Kitsap Immigrant Assistance Center, doctors, elected officials, SEIU 1199 Healthcare NW, and Mt Zion Baptist Church. For more information or to RSVP, see the Facebook event page.
BACKGROUND: CHI Franciscan’s parent company, Catholic Health Initiatives, acquired HMC in 2013 and recently asked the Washington State Department of Health (DoH) for permission to permanently close the hospital’s Bremerton campus and relocate all HMC hospital beds to its Silverdale campus. CHI’s plan calls for opening one new hospital tower in Silverdale in 2020 and a second in 2023, at which time the Bremerton campus would be closed.
DoH had originally approved CHI Franciscan’s request, but then in an unusual move agreed to reconsider its decision after reviewing information provided by the City of Bremerton, which opposes the hospital closure.
UFCW 21, the state’s largest private sector local union, represents more than 3,300 healthcare and grocery store workers who live in Kitsap County, and more than 46,000 around the state of Washington.