Published Monday, November 30, 2020 in The Stand.org
On Monday, Nov. 23 and Tuesday, Nov. 24, 120 unionized MultiCare Indigo Providers took to the picket lines during a strike that forced MultiCare to close more than half its clinics and slashed the patient volumes of the remaining clinics. The providers struck all 20 represented clinics and 94 percent of the workforce held the strike line.
Since July 2018, members of the Union of American Physicians and Dentists (UAPD) have been demanding safer working conditions. Since the pandemic began, doctors have been sounding the alarm regarding a lack of PPE, specifically N95 masks, affecting all Indigo staff. Following the first day of successfully picketing, MultiCare began issuing N95 masks to nearly all their providers and staff who see suspected COVID-19 and COVID-19 positive patients, but not to any providers who work at Indigo Urgent Care clinics. UAPD finds this selective distribution discriminatory. MultiCare is already facing several unfair labor practices including for targeting union members.
“We view MultiCare’s decision to outfit all providers and staff seeing suspect COVID and COVID-positive patients as blatantly retaliatory. The union is considering next steps in the face of this unlawful action,” said Dr. Stuart Bussey, Union President and former urgent care physician.
Not only does MultiCare prohibit providers from purchasing their own N95, they continue to threaten repercussions for those who wear their own N95 masks to work. Physicians and advanced providers are fighting for their right to a safe workplace every day. As one provider’s picket sign read, “I don’t want to die at work.”
Picket lines were full of providers and allies in the labor community. Several providers on strike could not picket due to pending COVID-19 test results, underscoring the severity of danger of their work conditions. UAPD informed MultiCare that providers were available to bargain any day or night leading up until the morning of the strike. MultiCare responded by demanding that unless doctors drop their key proposal on safety, the company would not bargain.
“Indigo providers have been fighting for safe workplace conditions for over two years, and we will not place the health of providers and patients at risk in order to protect MultiCare profits. UAPD will continue to champion the need to protect providers and the patients they serve,” said Dr. Bussey.
Members of the public wishing to support local healthcare providers are being asked to visit www.unitedforpatients.com and sign a petition.
Founded by a private practice physician in 1972, over the last forty years the Union of American Physicians and Dentists (UAPD) has grown into the largest union representing licensed doctors in the United States. In the State of Washington UAPD represents physicians, advanced nurse practitioners and physician assistants. Affiliated with AFSCME and the AFL-CIO, UAPD is proud to bring the strength of the labor movement to the aid of working doctors in the interest of better healthcare for all. Learn more at www.UAPD.com.