Report Back: October Delegates Assembly
Spokane Alliance Jobs Team and Health Care Team Intent on Making a Difference for the Community
The Spokane Alliance Delegate Assembly on Oct. 11, 2018 celebrated the progress of the Jobs and Health Care Teams.
Leaders Rick Evans and Sheila Collins reported the Jobs Team is expanding its discussions with the Spokane Public Facilities District (PFD) leadership beyond setting the minimum number of apprentices and agreeing on federal prevailing wage commitments for two pending construction projects in downtown Spokane.
In a meeting scheduled for Oct. 24 with the PFD Board of Directors, Rick and Sheila say they intend to propose the PFD commit to some additional pro-worker measures in their construction contracts, measures that labor members of the Spokane Alliance have identified as needed, yet missing from most construction contracts. Sheila and Rick say they feel empowered by the success of their Alliance-inspired approach to problem-solving to introduce some new elements to future discussions with the PFD.
“We realized as we worked on this negotiation with the PFD that we are really talking about broader public policy, not just this contract, that using public dollars to pursue public investment should produce public benefits--always,” Collins said. She noted that this realization will inspire their future efforts as well as the current negotiations with the Public Facilities District.
The PFD Board meetings are public. The Oct. 24 meeting took place at 12:30 PM at the Spokane Convention Center Board Room. In response to the presentation from the Alliance, the chair of the Projects Committee committed to meet with our team to discuss our proposal.
The Health Care Team reported to the Oct. 11th Spokane Alliance Delegate Assembly that the board will decide in a matter of weeks what services the recently acquired mobile services will provide, based in large part on official input from listening sessions facilitated by the Spokane Alliance.
Thirteen Alliance member institutions and 112 individual members participated in providing that feedback on priorities for the mobile clinic. Identified needs that were most nominated for a response from the mobile clinic program are: difficulty accessing the system for medical services, the cost of those services and the lack of mental health services.
Health Care Team members Courtney Roberts and Kelly Anne Hennessey, University of Washington medical students, and Nathanial Cover, Firefighters Local 29 asked small groups formed from Assembly attendees where they feel the Health Care Team should focus next.
The small groups identified the following needs as worthy of Health Care Team attention:
- access to health services for the work poor,
- help navigating the complex health care and insurance systems;
- mental health support, particularly for the elderly;
- help overcoming language barriers in the immigrant community;
- training to understand the different cultural expectations and values attached to medical care by different communities;
- a strategy to keep doctors graduating from the new WSU campus in Eastern Washington to serve underserved rural communities here;
- developing a model for coordinated follow-up care from the clinic experience.
Nathanial Cover said the team is interested in exploring the concept of health care trusts, based on the experience with it at his own institution, Firefighters, Local 29. He explained how theirs has worked and asked the delegates if they feel it’s worth further exploration by the Health Care Team. The delegates agreed unanimously that it is.
He also noted that the Health Care Team is open to new members meet on Oct. 24th at the Spokane Alliance Conference Room. We discussed a range of different possible solutions to the issues our listening has identified, small groups will research a variety of different topics and report back to the full team meeting on Wednesday, November 28th. This will be open to all Alliance members and everyone is encouraged to attend to hear the results of this research. Contact Kelly Anne Hennessey or Courtney Roberts at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com for additional information.
In other business, Jennifer Bates, SEIU 6, reported to her fellow delegates that her local has invited unaffiliated janitors and maintenance workers to meet with them Saturday, October 20th at 1:00PM to discuss what they can do to improve their wages and working conditions. Around 25 janitors gathered with staff of Labor and Industries to share stories about the impact of workload on injuries.
Finally, Carol Prichard, lead organizer for Spokane Alliance, offered a briefing on the importance of building member power amongst the Alliance members through engaging members and pursuing Action Team agendas, but also building money power through seeking member financial commitment to the organization. She distributed commitment cards that include the opportunity for individual donations to support the work of the Alliance. If you would like to support the Alliance as a donor or monthly sustainer you can donate here.