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After months of working to resolve a contract that prioritizes patient care, nurses and healthcare workers took their concerns to the streets at an informational picket and rally on Wednesday, November 14.

Nurses and healthcare workers are calling on Harborview Medical Center to put patients first and address staffing concerns including providing adequate staffing so each patient has access to the right level of care.

“We need the hospital to put patients first, and we’ve been bringing forward solutions for months. Patients are always our top priority, and we want Harborview to work with us so we can get back to the bedside where we belong,” said Georgetta Hachiya, RN.

Currently nurses and healthcare workers have to double up on patient loads to cover co-workers for enough time to eat or take needed breaks. Other patients may find themselves waiting for care from healthcare specialists and social workers, who often have to carry two or three pagers to cover shifts.

“This is the number one trauma center in the Pacific Northwest and probably in the entire world,” said Larry Gossett, Chair of the King County Council.  “It is also the safety net hospital for people in the community. So we definitely don’t want the quality of the work or the workforce to go down. And it’s incumbent on all of us, not just me and you, but the broader community to focus and make sure you get a fair deal as soon as possible.”

Nurses and healthcare workers are committed to addressing the concern and have been proposing solutions since they started bargaining new contract months ago.

“You are standing for all of us, and we in the community will stand for you,” said Representative Gerry Pollet (46th District). “This is our hospital. We are the hospital. We have to make sure every person who walks in gets equal, quality care. That’s what this hospital stands for.”

The nurses and healthcare workers picketed before and after shifts and during their breaks.

The current contract expired October 31, 2012.

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