TRI-CITIES, Wash. - Over 800 workers at Kadlec Regional Medical Center have decided to unionize in the wake of Providence Health’s takeover of their facility in 2014.
Staff including nursing assistants, radiology technicians, surgical technologists and other healthcare workers voted on Wednesday and Thursday to unite in SEIU Healthcare 1199NW, a statewide union of nearly 30,000 nurses and healthcare workers.
Caregivers pointed to Providence Health’s impact on Kadlec and the need for a voice in staffing, wages and benefits as the driving decision to for a union, according to a news release.
“We’ve seen changes in recent years that didn’t work for staff and patients and now we have all come together for a positive change,” said Rachel Luna, an OB Tech from the Kadlec Birth Center.
Workers have been forming their union for more than six months. A committee of worker-volunteer organizers talked with their coworkers about the need for a voice in the changing health care industry.
The committee decisively voted 422 to 297 in favor of the union.
It will now identify bargaining priorities and elect a bargaining committee to negotiate a first contract.
UPDATE: This story has been revised to exclude nurses from the list of parties included in the union.
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