Union members at EvergreenHealth medical center Thursday highlighted the comparison between the 1 percent pay raise they say the Kirkland hospital is offering them versus the 18 percent raise received by the CEO of the public hospital district facility last year.
The informational picket and rally was held by SEIU Healthcare 1199NW, which represents Evergreen’s cooks, nursing assistants, lab techs, secretaries and other healthcare workers.
The workers also complained the hospital was refusing to invest in patient-care improvements such as staffing changes. “Our patients deserve better and Evergreen does not have its priorities in the right place,” said Kim Steinbaugh, a cook at Evergreen, in a statement before the picket and rally.
Kay Taylor, Evergreen’s vice president of communications, said the medical center has been working “very diligently” to find common ground with the union for nine months, including most recently a mediator. It will continue to do so rather than comment on negotiations in the media, she said in an email.
The union also took issue with the raise CEO Robert Malte received for 2013. Like other public hospital-district facilities, EvergreenHealth receives taxpayer support. In Evergreen’s case, that amounts to about $25 million a year.
Malte’s pay, including retirement and benefits, went from $843,236 in 2012 to $996,268 for 2013.
“Regarding our CEO’s compensation, it is important to remember that our board of commissioners benchmark CEO compensation to other similar organizations and create compensation that is at or near the 50th percentile,” Taylor said. “With our CEO’s recent raise, his compensation is still on par — if not below — other CEOs of similar-sized healthcare organizations.”