Members and Community – Moving Forward Together

Dr. Dexter Gordon, a professor at University of Puget Sound, emceed the packed launch of the Pierce County Community Healthcare Alliance: the community, faith, immigrant, and labor organizations standing together to address health disparities in Pierce County. He also came and facilitated a long discussion with our Health Care Advisory Board about inequity in health care.

The labor movement is most effective when members stand together with community support. The past year’s campaign for a fair contract with MultiCare was about workers having a voice on the job. When health care workers have a voice, they can advocate for their patients and themselves. This ensures that they have fair compensations which benefits them, their families and their communities. 

Washington Community Action Network issued two reports disclosing the harsh and expensive collection and billing done by MultiCare and also how the cutting of staff positions is harming the speed and quality of care. Despite making over $700 million in profit in the last three years, MultiCare was outsourcing and laying off workers, charging high rates for care, and aggressively doing collections including putting liens on people’s property.

Not only did members of the community join MultiCare workers during leaflet actions and pickets, they also came to meetings to talk with members about how important a fair contract is for the workers and the community.

In the end we were able to achieve a fair contract that includes:

  • A fair process for a new unit to join our union. 
  • A voice on contracting out our work. 
  • An agreement for adequate number of staff in all departments and on each shift. 
  • A wage scale with annual, across-the-board increases in each year of the contract. 
  • A retirement plan that respects our dignity.
  • A common contract expiration date that will give us more power during bargaining.

More from the Summer 2015 Newsletter