Union employees strike at 2 Pierce County hospitals

Nov 18, 2014, 10:12 AM | Updated: 2:13 pm

Union employees are carrying picket signs outside two Pierce County hospitals, demanding new contracts.

About 1,100 hospital workers are conducting a one-day strike at St. Joseph Medical Center in Tacoma and St. Clare Hospital in Lakewood. They’re members of Service Employees International Union Local 1199NW.

Both hospitals remain open during the work action.

“The strike doesn’t involve any nurses or medical staff so we have deployed other staff from within our system to help out for today and the remaining gaps we have filled with temporary workers from staffing agencies,” said Scott Thompson, spokesman for CHI Franciscan Health.

At Saint Joseph, the service and technical employees have been without a contract since October 2013. The contract with similar employees at Saint Clair Hospital expired last June. A federal mediator is involved in the St. Joseph contract talks.

The one-day strike started at 7 a.m. The employees are demanding, among other things, that the hospital group improve health care for its own employees and bolster its charity care policy.

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Union employees strike at 2 Pierce County hospitals