FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Saturday, Feb. 1, 2020
CAREGIVERS OF SEIU HEALTHCARE 1199NW CALL ON MANAGEMENT TO RETURN TO THE BARGAINING TABLE AFTER SUCCESSFUL THREE-DAY ULP STRIKE AT SWEDISH-PROVIDENCE
SEATTLE—The nurses and caregivers of SEIU Healthcare 1199NW at Swedish Medical Center today celebrated the success of their historic three-day unfair labor practice strike and announced their plan to win a fair contract from Swedish-Providence.
Healthcare workers ended the unfair labor practice strike proud of their united effort to stand up for their patients against a healthcare system that has prioritized profits over patient care and feeling more power in their solidarity than ever before.
“The beautiful thing about our power is we have all stood together and stood strong. Our unfair labor practice strike really banded us together in unity,” said Lauren Armstrong, patient services coordinator II-licensed at Swedish Edmonds. “We really are in this all together, everyone matters and we’re not leaving anyone behind. We are rejecting Swedish-Providence’s attempts to divide us and we will not be stopped by their tactics.”
Healthcare workers say they will continue to call on Swedish-Providence to return to the bargaining table. Management has refused to bargain since the start of the 10-day strike notice period and has rejected multiple attempts from the SEIU Healthcare 1199NW bargaining team to schedule negotiation dates for immediately after the strike. Swedish-Providence management has continued to violate the law, committing unfair labor practices such as locking out workers after the strike while leaving hospital units short-staffed; retaliating against a striking leader by interfering with her attempts to visit a family member in the hospital; and attempting to intimidate workers with a contracted security force armed with surveillance equipment.
An outpouring of support for the unfair labor practice strike from patients and community members has remained steady through emails, Solidarity Fund donations and their presence on the picket lines. Elected officials from across the region also expressed their support and stood on the line with caregivers, including representatives from the local governments of Seattle, King County, and Edmonds, as well as presidential candidates.
Amidst strong support from elected officials, community organizations and faith leaders, nurses and healthcare workers remain inspired by their solidarity and committed to continuing the fight for their patients.
“We have to continue this momentum. This strike was just another level of our fight,” said Teresa Deleon, patient registration at Swedish Cherry Hill. “This is our legacy. People in the community now recognize our union and they understand we are fighting for them.”
Nurses and caregivers say they are committed to continuing their fight for a fair union contract that guarantees safe staffing, workplace safety, recruitment and retention, racial equity and inclusion for all, and providing for the needs of environmental service workers, social workers, counselors and caregivers who provide standby and call.
SEIU Healthcare 1199NW is a union of over 30,000 nurses and healthcare workers throughout hospitals, clinics, mental health facilities, skilled home health and hospice programs in Washington State and Montana. Their mission is to advocate for quality healthcare and good jobs for all.