IN FINAL ATTEMPT TO SETTLE CONTRACT.
Coos Bay, OR — March 27, 2023. In a continued attempt to forge an equitable contract with United Food and Commercial Workers Local 555, a Portland area-based union representing approximately 50% of our staff members, Bay Area Hospital presented yet another enhanced proposal in its last and final offer to the State mediator on March 26.
Hospital officials did accept the State mediator’s invitation to meet again on March 9, hoping that the Union will also be willing to meet in good faith in order to reach a fair settlement. The Union chose to not attend that meeting. Last week, the State mediator notified the Hospital that the Union had initiated a meeting for March 26.
As a result of our continued commitment to our staff and those who count upon us for life sustaining care, we have made several improvements to our last and final offer, and these were communicated to the Union at the March 26 meeting. The proposed contract improvements include:
• The Hospital adjusted their final proposal to increase the wage rates for all union employees by 7.5%, continued its commitment to increase wages for those positions that remain below market after this increase, and adjust the minimum wage rate to $15.00/hour effective July 1, 2022, $15.50 effective July 1, 2023 and $16.00/hour effective July 1, 2024.
• Tripling employer’s contribution to union members’ 401K plans – an increase of 45 cents per compensable hour from 15 cents per hour that was offered at the outset of the negotiations.
• If the final offer is ratified on or before April 6, 2023, affected employees will receive retroactive pay increases from July 1, 2022 forward in one single lump sum.
• If the final offer is not ratified by April 6 2023 or if there is a strike or work stoppage, retroactive wages will be paid in four equal installments.
While the Hospital is committed to paying wages and benefits that are market competitive and, in many cases, above market, agreeing to the Union proposal would be irresponsible and could seriously threaten the health of our community and the viability of the Hospital, which is already facing a difficult financial turnaround.
The Union announced last week that they have officially called a meeting for UFCW members to vote on whether to accept the Hospital’s Final Offer, or reject it and call a strike. The vote is scheduled for Tuesday, March 28.
We sincerely hope that our enhanced proposal is accepted by the Union members, and we can move towards ratifying a contract that has been in negotiations since June, 2022. Bay Area Hospital exists solely to provide healthcare to this community and we hope to continue to do that by avoiding a strike, an activity that would adversely impact our operations, staff, financial turnaround efforts, and the community at large.