Community members send message to hospital administration

Rally at intersection in Aberdeen

Community members showed their support for outgoing pediatrician Dr. Sean White and for Grays Harbor Community hospital staff who are mired in a lengthy contract negotiation for a better wage and benefits package, by waving protest signs at passersby at the intersection of Sumner Avenue and Oak Street in Aberdeen Tuesday.

Daisy Torres, who started a grassroots effort on social media to call attention to what she says is a shortage of medical personnel on the Harbor, particularly pediatricians, was one of a hand full of people at the rally.

“I’m very upset we are losing Dr. White and that there isn’t another local on-call pediatrician in the area to take his place. This whole thing has really opened up a can of worms,” she said. “I know workers at the hospital are glad we are out here showing our support. They want and deserve to be paid a competitive wage.”

“No one wants a revolving door with doctors coming and going,” Torres added. “Many doctors and pediatricians in the area are not even taking kids now … they can pick and choose who they want to see. I certainly don’t want to have to go out of town to see a doctor or have to take my kids to a pediatrician outside the area.”

Negotiations between the hospital and members of the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 21, which represents hospital workers, have stalled. The two sides are still at odds over wages and benefits and over staff shortages as some workers report pulling double-shifts at the hospital.

The most recent contract between the hospital and Local 21 expired in April, but a clause in the contract allows it to roll over until April of 2017.

If current issues remain unsettled, Local 21 plans to step up its efforts to get hospital board members involved in the process and try to bring a resolution to the impasse.