Health Care Workers for Patient Safety

Audrey Kalblinger

Audrey Kalblinger

For us this contract is about fundamental fairness and a voice in the workplace. We have a right to be heard on issues that impact how we provide service to our community and economic security to our families.
— Audrey Kalblinger Providence Holy Family, Spokane

UFCW 21 has over 18,000 members working in Health Care across the state. Connecting this diverse group with more than 23,000 grocery store workers and thousands of workers from retail and other industries is one of the dynamics that makes UFCW 21 strong and resilient.

The hard working women and men who serve patients every day provide quality, compassionate care for our communities. In the past year, our members won over 20 new contracts with better wages and benefits at work locations from the Olympic Peninsula to Spokane. This coming year we will continue to negotiate contracts for many additional health care units with a significant focus on Providence. 

As the Health Care industry changes, our union is both changing and putting pressure on our employers to provide better jobs, better respect for health care workers, and better outcomes for our patients. 

Organizing for Change

New organizing efforts – such as this year’s successes at Holy Family in Spokane and the MultiCare Emergency Department in Covington – are part of our strategy to ensure workers have a voice on the job. By being better advocates for ourselves and our patients, we can improve staffing levels, workplace safety, and effective meal and rest breaks. These issues are interconnected and relate both to the well-being of members and the care provided to patients. 

As a union, we actively work to improve laws to help health care workers and our patients. Whether it is getting Paid Sick Days, so health care workers are not disciplined for using a PTO day when sick, or pushing to pass legislation that would provide proper meal and rest breaks for all health care workers, members have been joining our Active Ballot Club in record numbers and are meeting with their elected lawmakers to make the case for change.

All of these efforts are guided by the UFCW 21 Health Care Advisory Board. This large group of health care members meets several times a year to develop organizational goals, analyze trends in the industry, and take action to help lead the changes needed to improve daily life in the hospitals and clinics where we work and serve our patients’ needs every day.