Hypocrisy In Healthcare

The UFCW claims they support middle class Americans by fighting for Healthcare Reform.1 However they have no problem holding up needed hospital expansions when it helps their union allies.

In 2007, Providence Everett Medical Center had Washington States’ second busiest emergency department.2 The hospital was said to be so overcrowded that ambulances were told they would be better off taking patients to different facilities.3 To resolve the problem, the medical center got approval from the state for 106 extra beds and additional facilities. 4

Despite the desperate need of the community for more hospital beds, UFCW Local 21 joined a coalition that petitioned the Washington State Department of Health to reconsider its decision to approve the expansion of the medical center. The union claimed the state Department of Health did not consider the financial impact on consumers. 5

UFCW’s decision to interfere with the need for more hospital beds was intended to support the Service Employees International Union, which had been working to organize Providence Health & Service workers in California and Oregon. The conflict spilled over into Washington State where the SEIU attempted to hold up a $466 million hospital expansion. 6

Both Providence officials and the local newspaper in Everett, WA believed union politics were a motive in challenging the project.7 The Snohomish County Herald believed the actions threatened to make health care worse in Snohomish County.8

Despite its claims to support health care for the middle class, the UFCW’s actions speak louder than words. When it came to choose between hospital beds for the sick or the opportunity to capture more dues paying union members, the UFCW told those needing health services to take a back seat.


1 UFCW Press Release
2 Editorial, “Don’t Play Politics With Crucial Hospital Project ,” The Snohomish County Herald, 1/21/07
3 Sharon Salyer, “Hospital Project Challenged,” The Snohomish County Herald, 1/18/07
4Sharon Salyer, “Hospital Project Challenged,” The Snohomish County Herald, 1/18/07
5Sharon Salyer, “Hospital Project Challenged,” The Snohomish County Herald, 1/18/07
6Peter Neurath, “Clash Stalls $466 Million Hospital Project In Everett,” Puget Sound Business Journal, 5/11/07
7Editorial, “Don’t Play Politics With Crucial Hospital Project ,” The Snohomish County Herald, 1/21/07; Editorial, “Unsavory Tactic Should Be Dropped By Union,” The Snohomish County Herald, 5/28/06
8 Editorial, “Don’t Play Politics With Crucial Hospital Project ,” The Snohomish County Herald, 1/21/07