7,000 Nurses, Caregivers Picket for Better Care, Better Jobs at Swedish-Providence
SEATTLE – Swedish-Providence nurses and healthcare workers walked the picket line today to call for better staffing, better care, and better jobs. The 7,000 nurses and healthcare workers, united in SEIU Healthcare 1199NW, picketed several Swedish-Providence campuses today to call on Swedish-Providence, which made $110 million in profit last year, to fix staffing and invest more in front-line care.
“Patients pay Swedish-Providence to provide quality patient care, not to bank the money as profit or give it to CEOs in lavish salaries,” said Deanna Tregoning, a nurse at Swedish-Issaquah. “We’re out here today calling on Swedish and Providence to put care first and provide staffing that ensures no patient has to wait.”
The nurses, nursing assistants, dietary and housekeeping staff, unit coordinators, patient registrars, technical specialists, and more are bargaining a new contract for the first time since Swedish became part of Providence. When caregivers called on Swedish-Providence to create a maximum number of patients per nurse in order to ensure the highest quality of care, the hospital said no. And despite huge profits, Swedish is proposing to undermine standards for good jobs.
“Swedish used to be committed to providing the best care in our area, but saying no to staffing improvements and undermining standards for good jobs shows their priorities may have changed,” said Michael Scott, an Imaging Tech at Swedish-First Hill.
The picketing nurses and healthcare workers have received unprecedented community support, with the Mayor and a majority of the Seattle City Council standing with them along with key community organizations including the Church Council of Greater Seattle, OneAmerica, and others.
“King County’s growing immigrant and refugee communities should be able to expect high quality, culturally responsive care. At the same time, the medical profession is a rapidly growing slice of the economy, and has been an opportunity for residents in our region’s communities of color to find good paying jobs with good benefits,” said Rich Stolz, Executive Director of OneAmerica. “The entire community, particularly immigrant and refugee communities, have a stake in how Swedish-Providence treats its workers.”