At 9:59am on Saturday, March 16, more than 530 workers at Providence St. Peter Hospital marched back to work, linked arm in arm with community and labor supporters. We had been on strike since Monday and we returned with new resolve to continue their fight for affordable healthcare. Earlier that morning at 6:59am, 150 of our colleagues at Providence SoundHomeCare and Hospice returned to work after their three day strike.
“You’ve been out here standing up for all of us. You care for us. Providence needs to care for you. We stood with you this week and we’ll keep standing with you in this fight.” Lacey City Council Member Andy Ryder
With a total of 700 Providence workers on strike, this week’s action was the largest healthcare workers’ strike since 2004.
Providence has implemented healthcare cuts throughout its 5-state network that raised deductibles to $3,000 for our families. We have been slammed with healthcare bills and some of us are delaying needed care, skipping necessary medications, and considering bankruptcy filings following just the first three months on these new healthcare plans.
“Providence is taking us backward, not forward. My daughter has gone to a specialist that is out of network for 6 years and I’ve had to pay $500 per month for medications that used to be $40/month.” Lynnda Brown, Social Worker, Providence SoundHomeCare and Hospice, Thurston County
“I had thyroid cancer and have needed scans and blood work every few months. Since these cuts to effect, I’ve been delaying my scans and blood work because I can’t afford the bills. It’s scary but I have little choice.” Deborah Tipton, Dietary, Providence St. Peter Hospital
We hope to be back at the bargaining table with Providence St. Peter and Providence SoundHomeCare and Hospice soon to work together to create a healthcare plan that meets our needs. If Providence continues to insist on continuing the healthcare cuts, we will continue our campaign for affordable healthcare and haven’t ruled out future action.
“We are committed to doing what it takes so our families can have affordable care. We hope we don’t have to be out here on strike again. But we can’t live like this, where we’re choosing between paying our bills and getting care.” Bob Wilson, OR Tech, Providence St. Peter Hospital