Hundreds of health care workers strike over increased medical costs


OLYMPIA, Wash. - About 500 workers walked off the job at Providence St. Peters Hospital in Olympia including phlebotomists, technicians, assistants and all other hospital employees except doctors and nurses.

 Hospital staff said they’re prepared for a strike and the hospital will be open as usual.

On Wednesday, another 150 workers at Providence Sound Home Care and Hospice plan to strike.

The employees said they’re striking because the company increased health care costs and premiums for employees.

“Last year, we had deductibles for our medications of either  $20, $40 or $60, and this year, there is no limit.  So for one medication you could pay $300 a month,” said dietary worker Barbra Freitag.

 The strike could be the biggest health care strike in the region in years.

A representative from Providence told KIRO 7 they offered competitive contracts with wage increases, a retirement plan and health plan options.