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Hospital's union runs campaign to bolster petition drive

The Yakima Herald Republic helps union negoatiate with premium ads


Media: Yakimaherald.com, Yakima Herald Republic

Executive: Shelly Parker, Sales and Marketing Consultant, Yakima Herald Republic Beth Lindsay, Account Consultant, Northwest Passages Consulting, Linnae Riesen, Communications Director for SEIU Healthcare 1199NW

Client: Yakima Valley Memorial Union SEIU Healthcare 1199NW

Market: Yakima, WA

Campaign name: Protect Our Care

Platform: Wallpaper ad on Impact Engine's platform

Media: Yakima Republic Herald

Key exectuives: Beth Lindsay, marketing consultant at NW Passages Consulting

Challenge:  When Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital in Yakima, WA, population 93,101, merged with a larger health care organization, contract negotiations with unionized hospital employees stalled.

The union sought to protect jobs and benefits by implementing a "successor clause" which meant the new entity must honor the old agreements, as well as sign up another class of service workers at the now larger hospital.

Union chapter 1199NW, which had represented health care workers in the area for 29 years, hired NW Passages Consulting, an ad agency, to create a campaign to encourage public support for the union's position. The goal was to leverage the healthcare workers reputation in the community, and make the case that protecting their income and benefits also protected the quality of care for patients at the hospital.

Concept: NW Passages created a pitch aimed to generate support for the union, then turned to the Yakima Republic Herald to run the campaign. Because of the urgency and need to show a lot of information, Yakima Herald ran the ad as a wallpaper on the site. Pictures of hospital workers ran with with the slogan "Protect quality care and quality jobs" and "Memorial, do the right thing for care in our community."

A piece of the general creative is above. Please click on the link below to see the whole ad.


The slogan was an attempt to raise awareness and fear in the community that a larger healthcare conglomerate could erode the quality of care currently provided by long time local employees such as nursing assistants, janitors and other unionized employees - employees whose pay and jobs might be cut.

Visitors who clicked on the ad or wallpaper Impact Engine created were invited to sign a local community petition. 


The online wallpaper ad campaign delivered 200,000 impressions on Yakima Herald.com during contract negotiationsaveraging 50,000 impressions/day from February 11 to 13, 2014, towards the end of negotiations.

In addition to the wallpaper ads, the newspaper ran a full back page ad with petition and signatures of those who had signed.

Finally, radio spots on four local stations asked people to call the hospital CEO with their support.

The union even staged an informational picket in front of the hospital site, presenting the petition of support and generating a public response from the hospital's CEO, Russ Meyers, on their own website:

“We are confident that we will reach an agreement with the union. We have offered a fair pay plan with increases and bonuses commensurate with those received by other Memorial employees, and we remain committed to our employees and our community.”


In the end the hospital backed down.

For the first time ever, Union 1129 represented and secured a contract for the service workers as well as nurses.

"That’s almost everyone with whom a patient interacts with when they come to a hospital, from the receptionist to the assistant that wheels them into surgery to the janitors and sanitation workers who clean the room after the patient leaves." said Beth Lindsay, marketing consultant at NW Passages Consulting, who spearheaded the campaign.

Legal successorship was added to the existing contract for any new entities involved with the hospital.  

From a marketing measurement standpoint, the one percent click-through-rate for 200,000 total impressions was enough to power petition sign-ups as well as combining to brand and raise awareness fo the issue.

Shelly Parker

Many thanks to Shelly Parker, Sales and Marketing Consultant, Yakima World-Herald for contributing this example.

Beth Lindsay, Marketing Consultant, NW Passages Consulting


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