Hike in health plan costs spurs strike at Providence St. Peter hospital

Hike in health plan costs spurs strike at Providence St. Peter hospital

Modern Healthcare, 11 March 2013

Workers at Providence St. Peter Hospital, Olympia, Wash., went on strike Monday morning to protest increased costs to employee health plans. The 530 striking workers include housekeepers, dietitian technicians and nearly all employees except nurses and doctors. A strike affecting workers at Providence SoundHomecare, also in Olympia, will start on Wednesday. Both strikes are scheduled to last until Saturday morning.

The strike was triggered by changes to the health plan that went into effect Jan. 1, said officials from Service Employees International Union Local No. 1199NW. The changes raise the cost of deductibles by an average of $3,100, union officials said. That’s “catastrophic” for affected workers who earn a median salary of about $31,000 a year, the union added…. One union member, Abbey Bruce, a certified nursing assistant at St. Peter for the past year and a half, said the policy forced her to take a second job as a homecare aide. Her husband, who suffers from cystic fibrosis, saw his prescription copay increase from zero to $300 a month under the new plan, Bruce said. Providence officials disagreed with the union’s assessment over how much deductibles would increase.

 

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Olympia hospital workers plan to strike Monday over health costs

Olympia hospital workers plan to strike Monday over health costs

Workers at Providence St. Peter Hospital in Olympia plan to strike Monday over higher out-of-pocket costs for health insurance; hospital officials say employees need to help curb the rising costs of health care.

By Carol M. Ostrom

Seattle Times health reporter

If more than 500 service workers and others at Providence St. Peter Hospital in Olympia go on strike Monday morning as planned, it will be the largest health-care strike since 2004, union officials said.

The licensed practical nurses, nursing assistants, health-unit coordinators, and dietary and housekeeping staff who belong to the union contend that Providence has shifted too many health-care costs on to workers, most of whom make relatively low wages. Continue reading “Olympia hospital workers plan to strike Monday over health costs”