News

OMC, union reach tentative agreement

by MARK ST.J. COUHIG
Sequim Gazette

Following a year and a half of often contentious negotiations, Olympic Medical Center (OMC) and the nurses and health care workers represented by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) announced on March 29 they have reached a tentative contract agreement.

 

In separate prepared statements, both sides said an agreement was “in the best interests of the community.”

 

The details had not been released by the Gazette’s deadline late Tuesday, April 3, as both sides were awaiting the results of union and commission votes to approve or reject the contract.

 

The workers were holding an all-day vote, said Ginny Majewski, a registered nurse at the hospital.

 

“We have a blackout until all the members have had a chance to see it and ratify it,” she said.

 

A final decision was anticipated at 8 p.m. Tuesday night.

 

The nurses and health care workers on the SEIU Healthcare 1199NW bargaining team unanimously recommended the agreement to their fellow workers.

 

OMC’s board of commissioners also was set to vote on the contract, with a decision anticipated at 6 p.m.

An end to legal wrangling

If the agreement is approved, both parties say they would withdraw any pending legal actions. A spokesman for OMC said that includes a number of unfair labor practices charges the union brought against the medical center.

 

The charges are the subject of an ongoing hearing conducted by the Public Employees Relations Union.

If approved by the commissioners, the new contract will specify the employment terms for more than 350 OMC workers.

 

In their prepared statements, the two organizations said, “Both the hospital and the nurses and health care workers acknowledge negotiations have been long and contentious.”

 

Both organizations also stated that patient care is a shared priority.

 

“It was essential to negotiate mutually acceptable agreements in order for the parties to move forward.”

 

Reach Mark Couhig at mcouhig@sequimgazette.com.


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