FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 12, 2024
Healthcare Workers at Virginia Mason Medical Center Vote Yes to Join SEIU Healthcare 1199NW in Historic Win
Workers voted to join the union for fair wages, a voice in hospital decisions, and quality care for patients
SEATTLE, WA — Healthcare workers at Virginia Mason Medical Center – including patient care technicians, respiratory therapists, EVS technicians, sterile processing, and pharmacy staff – voted Thursday to improve their working conditions and secure a seat at the decision-making table with management by uniting in SEIU Healthcare 1199NW.
The victory was overwhelming: 585 out of 765 voters supported joining 1199NW, according to the count conducted Thursday evening by the National Labor Relations Board. The union election covers more than 1,000 frontline healthcare workers in Seattle.
“A better Virginia Mason is on the horizon,” said Rozine Cox-Erb, patient flow coordinator. “With a voice in hospital decisions and working conditions, I’m confident that our unity will improve our lives and the lives of our families and patients.”
Virginia Mason, previously the only non-unionized hospital in Seattle’s First Hill neighborhood (“Pill Hill”) for non-nurse job classes, has faced challenges recently, which many attribute to issues such as short staffing, non-competitive wages, and poor working conditions. Workers are confident that their advocacy and unity will lead to improvements.
“Joining together in this historic win will show hospital administrators that as workers, we have power when we stand together,” said Rene Folk, interventional radiology technologist. “We now have the opportunity to sit across from management and advocate what we need as frontline workers. We know what’s best for our patients!”
“This victory is a testament to the resiliency and solidarity among healthcare workers at Virginia Mason,” said Jane Hopkins, RN, president of SEIU Healthcare 1199NW. “Their vote is a bold statement — compassion, not the financial bottom line, drives our commitment to better standards in healthcare. To our new members, welcome to our union family.”
About SEIU Healthcare 1199NW
SEIU Healthcare 1199NW is a union of nurses and healthcare workers with over 31,000 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.