For Immediate Release: August 23, 2017
Hospital Workers Join Community to Oppose Closure of Harrison Medical Center in Bremerton
The union that represents workers at Harrison Medical Center (HMC) in Kitsap County has declared its opposition to CHI Franciscan Health’s (CHI Franciscan) plan to close HMC’s Bremerton campus. UFCW 21 announced today that, while it supports having a new, unionized hospital in Silverdale, Phase 2 of CHI Franciscan’s plan should be to upgrade or replace the hospital that currently serves the largest city in Kitsap – rather than close it down, as CHI Franciscan intends.
UFCW 21 member Aimee Oien said, “As a Pharmacy Tech at Harrison and a Kitsap resident, I expect CHI Franciscan to put the community’s needs ahead of their corporate parent’s bottom line. Kitsap County gives CHI a huge property tax exemption. It just does not make sense for them to close the hospital in our largest city.”
It is the position of UFCW 21 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 the County. That path would be better for health care workers, patients and the community.
Aimee Oien is one of about 1,300 members of UFCW 21 who work at HMC in Bremerton and Silverdale. These workers are members of UFCW 21 which 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. UFCW 21 is the state’s largest private sector local union.
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 Encourages Everyone to Attend Hearing:
The DoH will hold a second public hearing on CHI Franciscan’s plan.
· Friday, September 8
· Bremerton School District Office (134 Marion Ave N. Bremerton).
· UFCW 21 members and allies will rally at 9:30 AM, prior to the start of the 10:30 hearing.