The Stand

Protest Thursday at Valley MC over proposed retirement cuts

The following is from SEIU Healthcare 1199NW:

RENTON (June 18, 2020) — Nurses and healthcare workers from SEIU Healthcare 1199NW at UW Medicine Valley Medical Center will be conducting a physically distanced demonstration to protest Valley’s planned suspension of retirement account contributions today from 11 a.m. to noon and from 4 to 6 p.m. outside the medical center at 400 S. 43rd St. in Renton. Caregivers in medical masks will stand six feet apart on 43rd Street outside the hospital, holding signs and banners calling for reinstatement of the retirement contributions mandated by their union contract.

Valley Medical Center management has proposed to suspend contributions to employees’ retirement accounts for a minimum of five months.

Valley treated the second COVID-19 case in Washington state and has cared for many of the patients impacted by the Western Washington’s largest outbreaks. After months of extraordinary, life-saving work, caregivers say they feel shocked and insulted that Valley management would attempt to shore up profits by cutting into workers’ retirement savings. Employer retirement contributions are especially important to the lowest-wage workers in Valley’s care team, many of whom are people of color already experiencing our country’s racial wealth gap.

The healthcare heroes at UW Medicine Valley Medical Center cannot afford for the employer to suspend this contribution to their retirement and their future. While highly paid executives can make up for retirement cuts with their own savings, many healthcare workers live paycheck-to-paycheck. By suspending retirement plan contributions, Valley is stealing from the futures of its workers and their families.

UW Medicine Valley Medical Center is the only represented employer that has been bold enough during the coronavirus outbreak to propose to save money by cutting retirement.

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