A Letter to the Community
Dear Neighbors, Families and Friends,
We are fortunate to live in a community where we have such close relationships, where we care for each other especially at times of great stress. The team at KRH would like to thank you for your unwavering support during the pandemic. This traumatic and frustrating outbreak of COVID continues to have lasting effects on everyone — from loss of loved ones, to long isolation periods, and even to our kids who will remember this time as a blemish on their childhood. Working with each other we have been able to protect our community and keep this region as safe as we could as COVID became everyone’s new normal.
Brighter days are on the horizon and we are hopeful that the worst may be over, even though we must remain diligent and on high alert.
When I last spoke to you in a letter to the community shortly after I arrived here, I shared my commitment to this community as the new healthcare leader. I also shared my concerns about an outsider attempting to disrupt the important work we had begun on my first day of employment — putting our workforce as a top initiative. I speak of the Washington-based SEIU as the outsider bringing a new and disruptive flavor to our family culture we have worked so hard to cultivate. As such, I believe it is critical for you to have important facts as they ramp up their rhetoric and attempt to create divisions among our workforce and our community with misinformation and scare tactics.
Our community asset (the hospital) must be professionally managed in order to do the great and noble work that each and every person who works at KRH does in delivering the highest quality of care 365 days per year. This means caring for every member of the workforce with a global view of all operational aspects of running a hospital. SEIU is an organizing entity, not a hospital.
Bargaining in a union situation requires two parties who come to a negotiated conclusion and so far we have not seen SEIU willing to bargain reasonably, which forces us to hold our ground until they begin to face reality. A nearly 25% increase with special deals for a select group would fracture our workforce and is not a reality.
Our nurses who we love and are our “battle buddies” in the fight against COVID are the single largest represented group on our management team. So when you hear that KRH doesn’t care about our nurses nothing could be further from the truth.
You will also begin to hear that the SEIU is looking for a strike vote – another scare tactic. How is a strike good for patients? Why would you even consider a strike during a pandemic? Why would you scare the most vulnerable — sick patients who come to us for care, hope and understanding? They do this to manipulate management regardless of the impact to patients. Why would you injure the hospital financially while demanding special deals and increases of nearly 25%? These are important questions for each of us to consider when you look at SEIU’s motives.
Be assured if there were to be a strike, the hospital will not abandon patients and we will be here to care for you.
As I close out this letter, SEIU will focus on personal management attacks, outlandish claims and misinformation. We will be continually working to set the record straight. Our focus will remain on patients even while being constantly forced to clarify the SEIU spin on everything we say. Patients should never be a bargaining chip for SEIU.
I would once again thank you for supporting our community hospital during what has been the most difficult year for everyone fighting this pandemic. We are proud of our accomplishments with our two-year focus on workforce and strengthening operations. It is an honor to care for you and put you first in our decision-making. Please stay safe and let’s care for one another at every opportunity.
Craig Lambrecht, MD
KRH President & CEO