The union that represents several hundred workers at Providence St. Peter Hospital went on strike this morning after the two sides failed to come to agreement about a new health care plan for hospital employees.
The new health care plan took effect Jan. 1.
The Service Employees International Union 1199NW, which represents about 530 workers at the hospital, including dietary, housekeeping, health unit coordinators and other workers, is set to go on strike for five days.
Hospital spokeswoman Deborah Shawver has said that the hospital recognizes the unions right to strike, but added that no one wins with a strike. In the event of a strike, the hospital will continue to provide patient care and has a contingency plan in place, she said.
Providence offered three health plans that members could choose from: a health savings account, a health reimbursement account and a more traditional health care plan offered through Group Health.
Union members are frustrated because the two account-based plans the HSA and the HRA replace a more traditional health care plan.