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In brief: Union accuses Spokane Valley, Deaconess hospitals of retaliation

Fri., April 25, 2014

The National Labor Relations Board has filed a complaint against Valley and Deaconess hospitals in Spokane regarding stalemated contract negotiations that grew so contentious last year that unionized employees conducted a one-day strike.

The complaint accuses the hospitals, owned by Tennessee-based Community Health Systems Inc., of retaliating against workers that participated in the December strike and refusing to bargain in good faith, said Julie Popper, a spokeswoman with the SEIU Healthcare 1199NW.

Hundreds of registered nurses and technical workers at Valley Hospital went on strike along with many unionized technical workers at Deaconess Hospital.

The union complained of staffing shortages and patient care at the hospitals.

Management said staffing met company norms and negotiations were conducted in good faith and centered on salary and benefits.

The NLRB took up the union’s concerns, which included replacing the striking workers with temporary workers that stayed longer than the one-day strike, and filed the complaint.

The matter is scheduled to be heard in September.

Schools official fined for using district resources in campaign

A top official from the Spokane Public Schools was fined $500 Thursday for improperly using district resources to support ballot measures in 2009 and 2012.

Mark Anderson, associate superintendent for School Support Services, agreed to a settlement with the state Public Disclosure Commission of a complaint filed by Laurie Rogers, a frequent critic of the district and self-described education advocate. Commission investigators found repeated instances in which Anderson used district email, computers or other resources to urge staff to attend campaign meetings. He also used district resources for a conference explaining how to pass levies.

Anderson agreed he had violated a statute that prohibits public employees from using government resources for political activity. The PDC board agreed to the staff recommendation of a $1,000 fine, with half of it suspended on the condition that he have no further violations in the next four years.

Spokane man, 23, accused of stabbing victim 16 times

A Spokane man allegedly stabbed his roommate 16 times Wednesday as the victim lay on his bed with a laptop computer on his stomach in an apartment in the 1300 block of West Boone Avenue.

Richie L. Attwood, 23, was ordered held on $500,000 bond during a brief court appearance Thursday. He is being charged with attempted murder and armed robbery.

According to court documents, a witness told police that he saw Attwood enter the victim’s bedroom and stab the victim without provocation. The 52-year-old victim apparently was pleading with Attwood to stop.

Attwood stopped long enough to demand the victim’s wallet and cellphone, then resumed stabbing the man in his head, neck and chest, documents say.

Multiple witnesses told police that they saw Attwood covered in blood before he apparently went to another apartment in the building to shower, documents say.

The victim suffered life-threatening injuries. He was hospitalized in stable condition Thursday, police said.

Man charged with threatening to kill CCS school officials

An 82-year-old man was arrested on a felony harassment charge Wednesday after he allegedly sent letters containing graphic threats to the Community Colleges of Spokane chancellor and director of security.

William Leong Jr. was ordered held on $15,000 bond during a short court appearance Thursday. He is being charged with harassment-threats to kill.

The letters began after Leong, who taught tai chi part time for CCS, was accused of stalking and sexually harassing a female yoga instructor. He was confronted by Security Director Kenneth DeMello and voluntarily resigned, according to court documents.

Leong reportedly told police he felt DeMello treated him unfairly so he started writing the letters, which contained graphic descriptions of violence. In one letter, he said he would kill DeMello if DeMello didn’t kill him first.

Spokane County Superior Court Judge Harold Clarke said he was disturbed about Leong’s escalation after he was banned from the SCC campus.


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