TACOMA – When patients, community members, and workers come together and stand up for quality healthcare, they can make a difference. After months of calling for CHI Franciscan to invest in Tacoma patients and a public hearing, an informational picket, and a one-day strike, workers at St. Joseph and St. Clare hospitals ratified their new contract at 8pm Tuesday that includes a voice for improved staffing and wage and benefit improvements that will together translate to better front-line care.
“Our patients and neighbors stood alongside us as we called for CHI Franciscan to invest in our community,” said Eugena Stanley, a Medical-Surgical unit CNA at St. Clare Hospital. “Together, we moved a mountain. Now our patients have the peace of mind of knowing that we, the frontline workers, have a say in keeping staffing safe.”
The 1,100 nursing assistants, unit coordinators, and technical, dietary and housekeeping workers went on strike for 24 hours on November 18 to call for the wealthy Denver-based CHI corporation to stop taking healthcare dollars out of Pierce County and start investing in good jobs and good care. The resulting agreement, ratified by member vote this evening, includes a strengthened labor-management partnership in determining staffing, an increased investment in workers’ retirement, wage increases, and a management commitment to transparency around employees’ qualification for charity care financial assistance to meet their families’ healthcare needs.
“This agreement means we can worry less about supporting our families and focus more on caring for our patients,” said Nilda Warren, a Unit Secretary at St. Joe’s. “We stood up for our community and it worked.”
The larger community campaign to hold CHI Franciscan accountable to providing adequate charity care for Pierce County patients continues. The hospital workers will be in Olympia this spring calling for more accountability for big hospital chains so that healthcare dollars remain invested in providing quality, safe care in our community.
“We can’t say thank you enough to our patients and neighbors who supported us,” said Kenny Harris, an EVS Tech at St. Joe’s. “This win is all of ours—and it means better care for you.”
Strike photos available at https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10152886561450681.1073741872.60074920680&type=3