On August 11, MultiCare workers from Covington Emergency Department in Washington state, voted to join UFCW Local 21. With a union voice, the health care workers will now have the tools to provide better quality care to patients and support each other in the workplace. Key issues that were important to workers include job security and protections, cost-of-living increases and yearly step increases, labor management committees to address staffing concerns, and affordable benefits.
For years, the current UFCW 21 members at MultiCare have been pushing for a fair process for workers to be able to join and stay in their union. In the 2015 negotiations, the nearly 2,000 current members kept pushing for this as an integral part to the negotiations. During a negotiation session in early May, Covington ED worker Rebecca Anley came to a to talk with the bargaining team and thank them for “standing with us” at Covington ED.
The win is a result of the team effort between current members working closely with interested workers and the strong support from the community. By working together, members won the conduct agreement that included the community election provision in the contract. This, and the courage of the workers at Covington are what helped bring about this organizing win.
MultiCare Health System is a not-for-profit health care organization based in Tacoma, Wash., that made over $700 Million in profit in the last three years. It is the largest private sector employer in Pierce County, Wash.