SEIU Healthcare 1199NW reaches tentative agreement with Community Health Systems - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

SEIU Healthcare 1199NW reaches tentative agreement with Community Health Systems

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SPOKANE, Wash. - SEIU Healthcare 1199NW members at Deaconess Medical Center and Valley Hospital and Medical Center have reached a tentative agreement with Community Health Systems, the intended new owner of Empire Health Services. The sale is expected to close October 1, 2008.

The recommended tentative agreement covers all terms of wages, benefits and working conditions through the sale transition and will be valid through the end of the year. The agreement will be voted on by SEIU Healthcare 1199NW members over the next several days at the hospitals. Bargaining for the successor contract agreement will commence in October.

"It was important for our members and the patients they care for to have a smooth transition during the sale of the two hospitals. We have secured wage, medical benefit and pension standards that will provide stability for the nurses and hospital staff. Community Health Systems may be new to the Spokane region, but these hospitals have been an essential part of the community for over 100 years.  We're hopeful that Community Health Systems will continue their mission as well as provide needed financial resources," Chris Barton RN, Secretary-Treasurer of SEIU Healthcare 1199NW said.

"We intended to maintain the contract protections we gained since we formed our union five years ago. The bargaining team is recommending this agreement and is committed to ongoing negotiations with Community Health Systems in October to bring our staff in line with community wage standards when we begin bargaining the successor contract," said Barb Davis, cardiac sonographer at Valley Hospital and Medical Center and member of the SEIU Healthcare 1199NW bargaining team.

SEIU Healthcare 1199NW represents 1,200 nurses, technicians and service workers at Deaconess Medical Center and Valley Hospital and Medical Center.

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