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Washington Health Care Workers Ratify New Contract

January 21, 2022

On Jan. 10, members of UFCW Local 21 who work at St. Michael Medical Center in Bremerton, Wash., ratified a new contract that raises wages and improves benefits. This unit at St. Michael Medical Center reports to Conifer Health Solutions and these workers are employed as patient account representatives, health information manager specialists, and coding specialists.

The three-year contract includes a historic 10 percent wage increase, with another 2.5 percent increase in early April. The new contract also includes increased paid time off accrual rates for many employees; a new reporting structure for safety and staffing concerns which requires a written response from management; posting of work schedules at least 14 days before the start of the schedule; and the guarantee of four hours of pay if employees report to work, but are sent home due to an emergency.

“These days it’s good to know that by standing together—all of us at work and in the community—we can improve our workplaces,” said Shirley Messner, who is a coding specialist and served on the bargaining team. “We can get a little respect. Now, we need to keep at it to enforce the rights we have achieved in our contract.”

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