Members and supporters of the UFCW 21 Union lined the walls of the Board of Commissioners meeting last night at Grays Harbor Community Hospital. Microbiologist John Wearing explained, “We have a long history of working cooperatively with the hospital, and have been frustrated with the overall length of negotiations.”
Wearing detailed the history of the Union and summarized recent frustrations with bargaining for pay increases and lower cost health insurance. “In March we were optimistic about a reasonable contract. The employer proposed large increases in deductibles and spousal dependent premiums. We asked for the premiums for PEBB and other of the state-allowed insurance plans and it took us 4 or 5 months to get that information.” PEBB is the state’s Public Employee Benefits Program.
Nuclear Medicine Tech Eric Timmons said the state’s insurance is better than the insurance that the hospital offers. While the intent of the talk last night was to educate the board on the union and their requests, Timmons included an ultimatum, “We need to see significant progress at our next meeting, and we’ve decided as a negotiating committee that if we don’t, we are going to submit a 10-day advanced notice for informational picketing. That’s certainly not something that we want to do. I do not want to bring a black eye to the hospital.”
No action was taken by the board last night in regards to bargaining.
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