GHCH nurses approve labor contract

Members of the Washington State Nurses Association have approved a three-year labor agreement with Grays Harbor Community Hospital.

Nurses employed at the hospital voted on the contract Thursday. It was described on the WSNA web site as “the very best tentative agreement for all of the nurses at Grays Harbor Community Hospital” and recommended for approval by negotiators representing 191 nurses working there either full or part time.

“The wages are attractive,” said Christine Himmelsbach, the association’s director of labor. “And we are happy with the fact that these are wages that will be competitive in the market.”

Himmelsbach also noted there will be some improvements to employee benefits as a result of the contract as well.

Negotiations between the nurses’ association and the hospital began in late October.

“We are pleased that we were able to reach an agreement that satisfies both the nurses and the hospital,” said Tom Jensen, the hospital’s CEO, in a statement released to the public on Friday.

Employees represented by United Food and Commercial Workers Local 21, however, have yet to attain what they consider a satisfactory labor agreement with the hospital. They plan to conduct three sessions of informational picketing outside the front of the hospital on Tuesday. The last demonstration, from 4:30 – 6 p.m., is going to be a candlelight vigil with members of the community invited to participate.

The hospital will remain open and staff will continue caring for patients during the demonstrations.

“We remain optimistic that an agreement (with UFCW Local 21) can be reached and all parties can continue to bring the best possible services to the Harbor,” Jensen said in a separate statement also sent out Friday.