Our union leadership is all of us – we each have a vote to elect our facility-based Executive Board members and our union-wide officers. The Executive Board meets monthly to discuss and decide our union program, oversee our union budget, and determine the best way for us to come together and win for ourselves, our patients and clients, and our communities. Our officers, 4 full-time staff officers and 3 rank-and-file officers, run the union day-to-day based on the program plan and direction of the Executive Board.
President Diane Sosne, RN, MN
These are momentous times for us, our families, and our communities. Our healthcare system is undergoing major upheaval. Our hospitals, clinics, home health/hospice and social service agencies, and behavioral health system are going through redesigns, mergers, and acquisitions.
This is why I continue to love what I do as President of our union. I know true innovation and quality care starts with members in every job in each of our workplaces. Members must provide the leadership and direction at the center of all we do in our union.
We know the fundamental foundation for having a strong union is unity and our unity demands that we break down all the barriers to ensure that we are not divided by race, ethnicity, where we were born, our citizenship status, where we live, and who we love. Actively pursuing equity and inclusion in our union means we can better unite to improve our workplaces and our communities.
I am passionate about and confident in our members’ and our union’s ability to create profound change. I have seen us succeed. As a psychiatric nurse I saw change on an individual level. Since forming our union, we have seen our amazing organization have a profound effect across our state. With your support I want to continue to lead and grow our impact. Sometimes faced with enormous challenges, the path forward seems too daunting. I see the enormous challenges as opportunities. Together we can truly make a difference.
Secretary-Treasurer Robin Wyss
The strength of our union comes exclusively from the strength of members united and taking action. Through our campaign at Swedish-Providence in 2015, where I served as chief negotiator, we showed how powerful member unity in action can be. We took on the five state Providence corporation and won—not just pushing back against their high-deductible health plan proposal but also moving forward to make our healthcare more affordable for everyone and to make the care we give safer and better quality for our patients.
We did this by uniting across difference, both across bargaining units – service, technical, professional, and nursing members – and across gender, race, ethnicity, immigration status, and age. We built one strong voice for quality, safety, and justice, demonstrating that there’s nothing that healthcare workers united can’t achieve.
I’m excited to build on the successful legacy of more than 30 years of organizing and action. As a union, we prioritize our limited resources to best fit our union’s democratically established goals. By continuing to be good stewards of our resources we can ensure a strong future for quality jobs and quality care in our state.
Executive Vice President Jane Hopkins, RN
As a frontline nurse, I understand the unique challenges and perspectives of caring for patients and fighting for better staffing. I worked at Harborview Medical Center for 12 years and was an active delegate and bargaining team member before I became an organizer with SEIU Healthcare 1199NW.
Since then, I’ve been proud to work with our member leaders at Harborview to take on some of our biggest fights to hold our hospital and UW Medicine accountable to their mission, resulting in our union’s first break relief nurse program. Through our unity across the state, we’ve raised staffing standards and advanced to a $15 minimum wage in many hospitals, which raises the baseline not only for us but our larger communities.
The challenges ahead of us are many and together we need to build a stronger union and protect the standards we have already won. Attacks are coming from all directions, including corporate healthcare CEO’s, organizations that want to take away our union rights, and elected leaders who want to dismantle our gains. Together we need to elect leaders who will stand with us and build our unity to be ready for the challenges ahead.
I’m passionate about providing patient care and advancing standards across the state. I’ll continue to fight for all of us, and I’m honored to be an Executive Vice President.
Executive Vice President Casey Rukeyser
It is an honor to be the new Executive Vice President position and to continue our union’s track record of winning through our strength and unity. I have been organizing with SEIU Healthcare 1199NW since 2003 and have been lucky enough to help build our union in Washington since 2006. From UW Medicine to PeaceHealth, I’ve been proud to help build and grown our union. Working with members across the state has taught me so much about building a fighting union and winning for our families and patients.
When we take action together we really do have the power to make positive change in our facilities and communities. Now, more than ever, we need to protect the gains we’ve won. Corporate healthcare and their allies want to roll back our standards and weaken our union. I’m committed to work with our union leadership and members across the state to build our power and continue to hold our employers accountable to us and the care we provide.
Vice President Grace Land, Sterile Processing Tech, MultiCare Good Samaritan Hospital
I have been a Sterile Processing tech for 32 years at MultiCare Good Samaritan. For 12 of those years I have had the privilege to serve as our union’s vice president alongside a leadership team that shares my passion and commitment in building our union strength.
There are always challenges but with perseverance there are accomplishments. Most recently we expanded our Multi-Employer Training Fund to MultiCare Good Samaritan and Auburn Hospitals. Our political allies supported our Swedish-Providence members in a hard fought contract fight. The outcome was strong staffing language that set the standard for all future contracts. Our members in Yakima mobilized and helped elect for the first time a Latina mayor and Latina council members. Elected officials that truly represent our members and their communities. Our union is committed to hold healthcare systems accountable. We are doing that in Tacoma. We are in the community working with organized community leaders and developing plans to address the current staffing problems in our healthcare systems in Pierce County.
It is these sorts of accomplishments that make me proud of our union. We must continue to organize healthcare workers and develop all aspects of leadership in our membership. Our members are the strength of our union. I look forward to continuing my commitment to “Growing our Strength” of our union.
Vice President Scott Canaday, Angio Tech, Harborview Medical Center
It has been a privilege working for our union as the Public Sector Vice President. The members of our union are absolutely amazing and that is because we are willing to take on the hard fights and stand up for what’s right.
Together with you, I’ve walked on more picket lines in the last two years than all of the years before. That’s because of our strength – we can take on bigger fights, we can challenge larger employers, and we can make a bigger difference in both our workplaces and communities. We see the impact for us, and also for our patients and the care we provide.
The next few years will bring more challenges for us across the state and we need a strong team to stand up to the corporate greed that we are seeing. Together we can hold healthcare employers accountable to good patient care and educate them on what being the employer of choice really means. I’m proud to be part of the leadership team that has been with you for the struggles and victories of the last two years, and look forward to standing with you.
Vice President Delores Prescott, RN, Swedish Medical Center
I’ve been a nurse at Swedish-Providence First Hill for 14 years, as well as an active delegate and bargaining team member. I’m proud of the work we’ve done to hold Swedish accountable to caring for our community. There is more work to do and I am ready to keep fighting with my fellow SEIU Healthcare 1199NW members to win and raise standards across our union. I’m running as your Vice President to stand for three things: equity, inclusion, and safe staffing for all job classes.
I am a black woman, raising a black son. As an immigrant to this country, I did not experience a feeling of being different or unequal because of the color of my skin in my home country. In this country, the struggle for equity and for everyone to be treated fairly is among the most important work of our union.
I entered the nursing field because I had an older brother who passed away when he was 19 after he didn’t receive the care he needed. I can still recall how much he suffered. This motivated me to go into nursing so that I could ensure others would get the care they need and I could fight to ensure that everyone experienced equality.
When a patient rings his/her call back, there is a commitment that we will answer and provide him/her the care s/he needs to thrive. We cannot do that unless we are also advocating for the tools and staffing required by our institutions which often put profits before patients.
I’m ready to work with all of you to strengthen our union so we can continue to win together with equality and recognition of all of our work, inclusion so that all voices are amplified and lifted up, and staffing that keeps both us and our patients safe.