Astria workers rally for better care

YAKIMA, WA - Nurses and health care workers at Astria are speaking up.

Employees were picketing and rallying outside of the hospital Tuesday afternoon asking management to step up.

They say management has to invest in their staff so they can prioritize in patient care.

Astria workers chanted, "We will fight for healthcare all day long."

Employees say it is time management hears them out.

"We need a contract that will keep long term knowledgeable, skilled employees in the facility and will allow us to recruit and retain new hires with high skill set," said John Procopio, nurse extender at Astria Regional Medical Center.

Workers say there is a wage and staff shortage and the impacts are starting to show.

"We're not competitive. We're losing staff to other locations because they can get much better wages," said Procopio.

"There's some patients you know that come into the ER and they're waiting to long to get upstairs, like we need to get them upstairs, make them feel better," said Tina Morrison, X-Ray Technician Astria Regional Medical Center 

Astria Regional Medical Center sent the following statement regarding this issue.

"Astria Regional Medical Center respects our employees' right to communicate their position in our ongoing negotiations. Through multiple meetings, we have already made substantial progress at the bargaining table towards a new labor agreement. We will continue to bargain in good faith, and look forward to returning to the bargaining table to reach a mutually agreed outcome. Astria Regional Medical Center will remain focused on our commitment to invest in the services and quality care available in our community."

This entire situation has employees like Procopio who have worked for Astria for 22 years feeling, "Undervalued, underappreciated. Questionable whether or not the management structure values us the way they probably should."

When asking both Procopio and Morrison what their future looks like if management does not give them what they are asking for? They said they like their jobs and would like to keep them and the reason they are doing this is because they care about their community and want to give them the best care.

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