News

Technical workers approve OMC contract

by MARK ST.J. COUHIG
Sequim Gazette

Well, that’s settled.

 

Following several months of negotiations, Olympic Medical Center and the Professional Technical Unit of UFCW Local 21 have come up with a winning formula for a new contract.

 

Of the 168 “regular employees” of the unit, 95 percent voted on Aug. 24 to approve the new three-year agreement, said Tom Geiger, communications director for the local unit.

 

Geiger said the membership of the unit “runs the gamut” of professional technicians, from radiology  technologists to lab workers to pharmacy technicians.

 

Geiger said union and management were able to reach an agreement because there was “movement on both sides.”

 

The new contract calls for a 1-percent raise for workers the first year, with 3-percent raises each of the two following years.

 

“That’s lower than in past years,” noted Geiger, who said the raises are acceptable in today’s economic climate.

 

Management also wanted to cut the employer contributions to employee pensions, which prior to the implementation of the new contract stood at 10 percent.

 

“It was negotiated to 7 percent,” Geiger said.

Health care costs

The cost of health care coverage also was a subject of negotiations between OMC and UFCW.

 

The two sides found common ground on the issue, which remains an unsettled subject in negotiations between OMC management and the 369 employees represented by the Service Employees International Union.

 

“Up until the present, most hospital workers weren’t paying much for health care coverage,” Geiger noted. “But costs are going up.”

 

OMC officials sought to have workers pay another $100 a month for their family coverage, he said, with both sides eventually agreeing to raise worker contributions by $60 a month.

 

“It’s more money out of workers’ pockets, but we felt it was fair,” Geiger said.

 

Kevin Tracy, a CT technologist and a member of the ProTech unit, agreed: “Everyone seems to be pleased with (the new contract).”

 

OMC’s board of commissioners approved the new contract on Friday, Aug. 26.

 

Negotiations with the three remaining UFCW units, which together represent 121 OMC employees, will resume Sept. 1, with both parties expecting to negotiate an agreement that will encompass all three groups.

 

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