Union forces say they’re planning two public rallies this week in Tacoma to raise the public visibility for a new contract at Tacoma General Hospital and for better wages and working conditions for home care workers.
The first public demonstration is scheduled for the McKinley Avenue overpass of Interstate 5 beginning at 7 a.m. Wednesday. Tacoma-area home care workers say they’ll be there to mark a “Statewide Day of Action” to fight for a $15 minimum hourly wage and for retirement benefits. Other rallies around the state are raising awareness of those same issues Wednesday.
Those workers contend that Republicans in the Legislature are blocking state contributions to home care workers’ retirement funds. Those home care workers are being organized with the help of the Service Employees International Union.
At Tacoma General Hospital, MultiCare healthcare workers will post an informational picket line outside the hospital’s main entrance at 315 Martin Luther King Jr. Way from 1:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Thursday. Those workers have been negotiating with the health care organization since early last fall without reaching an agreement. Those negotiations are now being held with the help of a federal mediator.
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Those workers, organized under the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, claim that the hospital is outsourcing work and laying off workers even as the hospital workload increases, that the hospital is standing in the way of improved retirement benefits and that wages aren’t keeping up with the increasing costs of living.
The union also plans a rally from 5:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday at Wright Park, which borders the hospital.