Healthcare workers at Valley and Deaconess plan Thursday picket - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Healthcare workers at Valley and Deaconess plan Thursday picket

SPOKANE, Wash. - Nurses, technical and service workers from Valley Hospital & Medical Center and Deaconess Medical Center are taking to the sidewalks Thursday in an informational picket against Community Health Systems, the national for-profit hospital operator that purchased the two hospitals last fall.

The healthcare workers, members of SEIU Healthcare 1199NW, say they are picketing and distributing literature to the community that asks CHS to keep promises it made to the community, to respect workers and stop anti-union activity, and to settle a fair contract.

 "We're picketing because CHS refuses to bargain a fair contract with us - it's time to stand up for our patients, ourselves, and our community," said Sharon Kile, a radiology tech at Deaconess.  "We work at Deaconess and Valley because we like treating patients as our neighbors - with respect. We had hoped that CHS would come to this community and do the same. Instead, they've tried to run our hospitals from Tennessee without asking us what we actually need to continue serving our community."


The picketing will take place at the following times and locations:

Valley Hospital & Medical Center - 11:00 am-4:00 pm
Sidewalk outside main entrance
12606 E Mission Ave, Spokane Valley

Deaconess Medical Center - 11:00 am-6:00 pm (Rally at 4)
Sidewalk outside main entrance
800 W 5th Avenue, Spokane



Statement from Deaconess and Valley Hospital and Medical Center

Providing high-quality patient care has always been our most important priority at Deaconess Medical Center and Valley Hospital and Medical Center, and we value the contributions of all of our employees.  

We are disappointed that the SEIU 1199NW is taking this tactic.  The hospitals respect the collective bargaining process and we believe negotiations should take place at the bargaining table.  The hospitals remain committed to good-faith bargaining and we hope a mutually acceptable agreement will be reached soon.

Previous Coverage
(10/29/2007)

As part of its search for a strategic partner, the Empire Health Services board of directors created a strict set of criteria for assessing potential partners. The criteria included alignment with EHS's culture of providing high quality patient care, supporting its excellent staff and physicians, maintaining a tradition of community services and collaboration and providing a commitment to charity care.

CHS emerged as the organization best able to fulfill the criteria.  The asset purchase agreement between EHS and the buyer includes the following:

    • Commitment to invest at least $100 million over the next five years to facilities and technology improvements across the EHS system. 
    • Commitment to dedicate significant resources to recruit new physicians needed in the community.
    • With the guidance and endorsement of the EHS board, adoption of a charity care policy that is more beneficial than the current EHS policy. 
    • Commitment to hire all EHS employees in good standing at the time of close, honoring their rate of pay and seniority level.
    • Commitment to continue community collaborations with Inland Northwest Health Services, which includes Information Resource Management, the information technology division.
    • Commitment to local leadership and guidance of the hospital, and will utilize a community board of directors, local physician involvement and leadership, and a management team based in Spokane. >>More

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