FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020
CAREGIVERS UNITED FOR SAFE STAFFING AS BARGAINING RESUMES AT SWEDISH-PROVIDENCE
SEIU Healthcare 1199NW members hold firm on patient safety proposals
SEATTLE—The nurses and caregivers of SEIU Healthcare 1199NW returned to bargaining yesterday with Swedish-Providence management, delivering good-faith proposals that moved closer to the hospital’s position on wages while remaining firm in their positions on patient safety, recruitment and retention, safety and security, safe staffing, and infection control.
Patient safety concerns were a key factor in caregivers’ decision to go on a three-day unfair labor practice strike in January, and remain central to their contract proposals. According to Lisandra Alonso, an environmental service (EVS) technician at Swedish Ballard, “being an EVS worker means it is my job to make sure our hospital is safe and clean. My coworkers and I keep patients safe by making sure we keep infections from spreading. We did not go on strike because we wanted to, we went on strike because we needed to. We need to keep our patients safe.”
While union members are working to come to agreement on a fair contract, Swedish-Providence management has not moved on its proposals and continues to be unresponsive to caregivers’ proposals for safe staffing. Caregivers are concerned that management’s proposals could make recruitment and retention worse than the situation that has already been reported. Swedish-Providence also put back on the table several proposals that would move the contract backwards.
Caregivers entered bargaining energized by the incredible support they felt from the community during their three-day unfair labor practice strike. A majority of union members participated in the strike, and were joined on the strike line by community leaders, elected officials, faith leaders, first responders, patients, local unions and fellow healthcare workers at other facilities. In response to this workplace action, Swedish-Providence management locked out hundreds, if not thousands, of its caregivers for two days after the strike.
SEIU Healthcare 1199NW is a union of nurses and healthcare workers with over 30,000 caregivers throughout hospitals, clinics, mental health, skilled home health and hospice programs
in Washington state and Montana.
SEIU Healthcare 1199NW’s mission is to advocate for quality care and good jobs for all.