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We are more than 30,000 nurses, healthcare workers, and behavioral health workers across Washington state united for quality patient and client care and good jobs.

We are a union ­— an independent organization created by employees to advocate for our common interests. We know that healthcare works best when we have a strong voice in decision making at our facilities. We stand together to make sure that our pay and benefits allow all of our families to thrive.

SEIU Healthcare 1199NW is our statewide union. Our union includes registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, pharmacists, technicians, professionals, therapists, mental health workers, certified nursing aides, housekeeping and dietary staff, and other healthcare workers. We believe we are the strongest to win for our patients, our clients, and our families when we unite across our job titles and advocate together. We are one care team.

We are also part of the 2 million member Service Employees International UnionSEIU is the largest union of healthcare workers in the nation. 

Interested who is in our leadership?

Curious how to join our union?

Our roots

District 1199NW was founded in 1983 when a group of nurses at Group Health-Puget Sound decided to form a union in our area. They organized a union with 1199-Hospital and Health Care Employees Union, a union originally founded by pharmacists and drug clerks that went on to lead historic campaigns to improve pay and benefits for hospital employees and nurses.
We later voted to form a nationwide union of health care employees by becoming part of SEIU. We’re proud of our connection to 1199’s history — a legacy of progressive, democratic action for social justice and civil rights for every American.

Learn more about our union leadership.

Learn more about joining our union.

How to form a union at your workplace

Hundreds of thousands of healthcare workers have decided that to make sure we are heard on the job, we need to speak with a united voice. To do that, we’ve formed a union — an independent organization created by employees to advocate for our common interests.

Questions about joining? Email or call our new organizing team, 425-336-5854.

Three Steps to Forming a Union:

1. We identify the changes we want to make and talk to our coworkers about forming our union.

2. After a strong majority of us sign a petition or card saying we'll vote yes for the union, we schedule a union election.  

3. We form our union and begin to negotiate to improve pay, benefits, and other work issues.


Why should we join SEIU Healthcare 1199NW?

SEIU Healthcare 1199NW is Washington state’s strongest healthcare union with more than 30,000 healthcare workers standing together for quality care and quality careers. Together we have the strength to improve our jobs and the care we give. Read more about the benefits of membership.

How do we form a union?

Forming a union starts with talking to your co-workers about it.  Contact our new organizing team, 425-336-5854, to get some help and tips, and find more information here.  

How do we negotiate a contract?

Negotiating a contract is a participatory, democratic process — all of us have a role to play.

We elect a team of co-workers from across the facility to represent us in negotiations with management. The team puts together a bargaining proposal based on input from surveys and meetings with employees across the hospital or clinic.

The bargaining team — with support from legal and negotiating experts from the union — meets with management over a period of time to reach an agreement on the issues.

We, the union members, then have the final say. Once we reach a tentative agreement with management, we have a chance to review it and ask questions. Then we hold a vote — no contract can be accepted unless a majority of our co-workers vote to approve.

What kinds of improvements have healthcare workers won by joining together in a union?

Having a real voice has allowed thousands of SEIU Healthcare 1199NW members to make our jobs better: improved wages, real job security, stable benefits, a voice for better staffing. Read more about the benefits of being a member.

Other than negotiating a contract, how else do SEIU Healthcare 1199NW workers gain a voice on the job?

Having a union allows healthcare workers to create new avenues of communication between us, the employees, and management, like:

Union-management committees. Most contracts create committees that allow employees to sit down with management to solve problems as they come up. Many contracts set up special committees that focus on a particular issue — such as staffing —  that we want to have an ongoing voice about.

A fair system for resolving differences. Our contracts also create a “grievance procedure” where an employee who has a disagreement with a management decision can turn to an appeal process. 

Who is SEIU?

SEIU is an organization of 2.1 million members united by the belief in improving the lives of workers and our families and creating a more just and humane society. Find more information on SEIU’s website.

How much are dues? What do they pay for?

Dues pay the costs of building an effective organization including our education and training programs, negotiating expenses, newsletters, office expenses, and salaries for officers and a full-time staff who provide research, organizing, communications, and legal support for the union.

Dues are 1.8 percent of your base monthly pay, $18 for every $1,000 earned. From 2024-2027 the monthly maximum of $90 will increase in $25-dollar increments each year until it is retired in July 2027.

Employees don’t pay dues until coworkers have negotiated and a majority of co-workers have voted to approve their first contract.

Dues cannot be increased unless a majority votes to approve a change.

Who makes the decisions in the union?

The members do. SEIU Healthcare 1199NW is run by members through a strong democratic process. Members elect our own worksite leaders, a union-wide executive board, and our local union officers. We vote to approve our contracts, our dues structure, and all other major decisions in our organization.

What is the advantage of having many types of healthcare employees in one organization?

Most healthcare jobs are team-based and patient care quality improves when every part of the team is strong. Cutbacks and staffing shortages in one department or job classification can ripple across the facility and weaken care and services for patients in other units. It’s important that we all speak with a united voice about our problems and concerns.

Having a united organization for everyone allows employees to make sure that every part of the patient care team has a voice in making decisions about the future of their facility.

How will management react if we try to form a union?

Most employers are used to having the power to make decisions without employee input. It’s typical for employers to be hesitant about opening up decision-making to employee involvement.

But it’s important to remember that forming a union will improve patient care and employee-management relations in the long run. Every employee has the right to help form a union. Ultimately, the decision about forming a union is made by employees, not managers.

How can I give feedback about the care I received from an SEIU Healthcare 1199NW member?

As a healthcare workers' and nurses' union, we put patient care first.  Feedback about care you received is best directed to the hospital, clinic, facility, or institution where you received your care.

If you have complaints of a serious nature about care deficiencies we encourage you to file a complaint with the Washington State Department of Health.