New Contract Will Mean Better Staffing, Affordable Health Benefits, Immediate $15/hour Minimum
SEATTLE- 7,000 Swedish Medical Center and Swedish-Edmonds nurses and healthcare workers, united in SEIU Healthcare 1199NW, are celebrating a new contract that will lead to better patient care, better recruitment and retention, and higher standards for King and Snohomish County hospitals and employers. The nurses, housekeepers, dietary staff, technicians, nursing assistants, and professional staff at Edmonds including pharmacy, social workers, and physical therapists ratified a new contract that guarantees a safe minimum staffing standard for patient care and immediately brings staff and new hires at Swedish campuses in King and Snohomish Counties to a $15/hour minimum wage.
“This contract means that Swedish will have the best standards for care and jobs in our region,” said Margie McInnis, a Sterile Processing Tech at Swedish’s First Hill campus. “Improving staffing, wages, and benefits means patients will have experienced, dedicated staff here when you need us. Our community stood with us for better jobs and better care and it made a huge difference- this is a win for all of us.”
Key features of the new contract include:
“Patients and staff deserve to have every effort made to ensure safe staffing. Our new contract lets charge nurses do our jobs by ensuring we have the authority to increase staffing when there is a patient care need,” said Bruce Berghegger, a Charge Nurse at Swedish-Ballard. “This is a big win for patient safety.”
The nurses and healthcare workers began bargaining in April, when Swedish management proposed significant cuts and take-aways. This galvanized the staff who then took part in unit- and hospital-based actions culminating in thousands of workers picketing on July 1. Since then, intensive negotiations have resulted in not just eliminating the cuts but moving forward for the quality of care and jobs. SEIU Healthcare 1199NW members are looking forward to a new relationship with Swedish management that includes cooperative problem solving.
“Our unity and action is making Swedish a standard-setter for safe staffing and quality care,” said Carissa Masching, a Lead Imaging Tech at Swedish-Mill Creek. “Together our coworkers stood up, took action, and won for our patients, our communities, and ourselves. When we fight, we win!”
Nurses and healthcare workers at Harborview Medical Center, Valley Medical Center (Renton), Northwest Hospital, and Highline Medical Center continue to work without contracts as negotiations enter their seventh month.
juliep October 12th, 2015