Speaking truth to power

Speaking truth to power at King County Council

Local 1488’s Marcie Serafica, swing shift custodian at Haborview Medical Center in Seattle, on Wednesday (Oct. 4) urged the King County Council to continue to hold the University of Washington’s feet to the fire on how the region’s leading trauma center treats employees.

King County owns Harborview, but contracts with the UW to run it.

Thanks to the advocacy of Local 1488 members like Serafica, the latest 15-year agreement has strong provisions mandating the UW treat its employees in line with the values of King County.

“The new operating agreement between King County and the UW is very important to the Washington Federation of State Employees,” Serafica testified before the council’s Committee of the Whole.

The groundwork was laid a few years back over the UW’s mistreatment of our former call center employees...and the UW’s attempt to close Harborview’s specialty clinics,” she said.

But Serafica and Federation Higher Education Strategic Coordinator Rod Palmquist said the union and council must not let the UW revert to old anti-worker habits once the public attention fades.

“We need to remain vigilant,” Serafica said. “We want to work with you to continue to improve Harborview, for instance during the upcoming discussion regarding a major new capital improvement bond campaign.”

The council welcomed Serafica and Palmquist as allies who partnered with them and spurred them to use their ownership of Harborview as a bully pulpit to bolster what Serafica called a “vital regional asset.”

That partnership must continue, Palmquist said, “to support patients and staff at Harborview.”

You can see the video of the hearing at: http://king.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=4&clip_id=6622

PHOTO: Local 1488’s Marcie Serafica, swing shift custodian at Haborview Medical Center and member of the Washington Federation of State Employees, testifies in support of improved employee-management relations at King County Council King County Council, Committee of the Whole meeting on 10/04/17. It was the annual status update on King County’s management agreement with the UW to run the county-owned hospital — and abide by the labor-management values of the county. With her is Rod Palmquist, WFSE/AFSCME’s higher education strategic coordinator. Photo courtesy Tania Marie Rosario.