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Council 2 Organizes to Help Save Tacoma-Pierce County Public Health Department

Council 2 Organizes to Help Save Tacoma-Pierce County Public Health Department

由理事会2 2021年5月17日

Local public health departments have played an irreplaceable role throughout the pandemic – providing information, 供应, 和支持, 协调COVID响应, and now helping lead efforts to distribute the vaccines that are key to returning life to some sense of normalcy.

The Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department has been essential to keeping communities safe in Washington’s second-most populated county. 尽管皮尔斯县面积很大, the Public Health Department has helped keep cases down, 平均每100人只有13人,000 people in the last week prior to publication. Council 2 is proud to have 125 members who are public health workers in this department.

去年, 当流行病肆虐时, Council 2 and Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department management came to an unusually quick agreement on a new two-year contract. Management recognized the sacrifices made daily by their employees, and was willing to agree to a strong contract without a drawn out negotiation.

But before workers and Council 2 members could fully appreciate their new deal, their livelihoods – and the region’s public health – were threatened. The Pierce County Council surprisingly proposed a new resolution that would dissolve and eliminate the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department, replacing it with a ‘Pierce County Health Department’ with a board consisting of the members of the County Council.

The existing department 好处 from more than just strong collaboration between levels of government – it also receives robust funding from the city of Tacoma – more than $1.1500万年. Moving forward with this effort would have defunded public health services at a time where they’ve never been more urgent in the history of the 38-year-old department.

With a 4-3 Republican-supported majority on the Council – the ordinance dissolving the public health department looked destined to pass – potentially putting the region’s health at risk and undercutting Council 2 members’ new contract agreement for improved wages, 小时, 好处, 和工作条件.

So Council 2, its members, other local unions, and the community got to work. 在一起, they 组织d support across the county and made their voices heard through official communications, 给理事会AG体育app发邮件和打电话, as well as a protest on December 8th outside the County City Building in Tacoma – a show of force that demonstrated the strength of opposition against the measure, including from management and in the form of labor solidarity.

The dissolution ordinance still appeared to have the votes to pass, but Governor Jay Inslee took the remarkable step of issuing a proclamation stopping the termination of combined local health department operations until the pandemic subsided.

“This pause will allow public health employees to focus their energies on the most challenging chapter yet in our pandemic response,英斯利当时说. “They cannot be frustrated in their work by extraneous debate.”

Similarly, Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department Director of Health Dr. Anthony Chen called the measure “an unfortunate distraction” from their pandemic response efforts.

在回应, the Pierce County Council did not drop the resolution – instead, they modified it to still dissolve the operation, but for it to take effect after the pandemic ended, 企图无视州长命令的无耻行为. 随着对该法令的投票临近, 所有的迹象都表明它经过了, but Council 2 and the department staff kept up their efforts.

在法令的听证会上, Council 2 Assistant Director for Legislative Affairs Abbie Zulock said, “This kind of legislation is NOT how we thank these dedicated public servants for their service throughout this historic pandemic. The instability a decision like this would create for these workers in the middle of a pandemic is demoralizing and disrespectful.”

Recalling how she has relied on the health department for fast responses 和支持 for other Pierce County workers with COVID questions or exposure, Zulock补充道, “Pierce County’s staff are safer 因为 of the AFSCME Local 120 workers at the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department. 试图撤资该机构...is a disgraceful move that will harm not only your constituents, 但是为这些选民服务的工人.”

Zulock wasn’t alone – others from across the county testified in opposition to the misguided and poorly timed proposal, making clear the impact that the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department has on its residents and the risk posed by its dissolution.

这个证词显然产生了影响, 因为到了投票的时候, 帕姆·罗奇议员, 条例的发起人, voted down her own legislation in what one media organization called a “shocking reversal.” Roach was greeted with gratitude 因为 she listened to her constituents, 理解他们的反对, 并且投了正确的一票.

This experience is further evidence of the power workers have when they unite, 组织, 为他们的信仰而战. 第二届理事会将永远站在AG体育app一边, 因为, 通过团结一致的工作, 这个团队在合同方面取得了进展, 在工作场所, 在社区中.

 

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