Due to unclear billing protocols, Virginia Mason Memorial workers protest health benefits

More than 60 combined Yakima, Wash.-based Virginia Mason Memorial employees and supporters protested over the hospital's new healthcare plan and what they say are unclear billing policies related to the plan, according to a Yakima Herald-Republic report.

The service workers, who are represented Service Employees International Union Healthcare 1199NW, include nursing assistants and housekeeping, among other employees.

Linnae Riesen, SEIU Healthcare 1199NW communications director, told Yakima Herald-Republic a key issue, which sparked the union to file a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board, is the hospital implemented the new plan but didn't first comply with the contract by going through required negotiations. She told the publication the complaint is slated to be addressed at a fall NLRB hearing.

Virginia Mason Memorial did not directly address the protest, but did address negotiations.

"We continue to bargain in good faith and to work toward a mutually beneficial future for all parties involved. We do not negotiate in the media, and we continue to work with the SEIU to establish an ongoing negotiation schedule," Russ Myers, CEO of Virginia Mason Memorial, said in an emailed statement to Becker's Hospital Review.



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