On March 31, 180 respiratory care practitioners, licensed practical nurses, nursing assistants, dietary workers, housekeepers and other hospital workers at Kindred Hospitals at Northgate and First Hill voted overwhelmingly to unite in SEIU Healthcare 1199NW. Then, one week later on April 6, 200 nurses and healthcare workers at Providence Home Health and Hospice of Snohomish County voted to unite with us. The workers formed their union to have a stronger voice in decisions that impact their patients and to improve the quality of care for their patients.
“This is for our patients. We don’t have enough staff to give the care we want,” said Kristine Smith, a Respiratory Care Practitioner at Kindred Hospital – Northgate. “By forming a union we will have a stronger voice to make improvements at our hospital.”
“This is a step toward a better future for us, our patients, and our families,” said April Frazier, the Chaplain at Providence. “I think the Sisters of Providence would be proud of our advocacy.”
The votes, 102 yes to 17 no at Kindred and 135 to 31 at Providence, reflect workers’ unity around key issues including staffing levels and recruitment and retention.
“CNAs are the backbone of our hospital,” said Kacey Thomas, Telemetry and a Certified Nursing Assistant at Kindred Hospital – First Hill. “We have the most direct contact with patients and are the eyes and ears of this organization when it comes to patients and their needs. Together we will have a stronger voice that we can use to echo the nurses’ call for safer staffing and to find a solution to our high turnover.”
“Forming our union will benefit our patients,” remarked Amber Back, a Hospice Nurse at Providence. “In negotiations, we will stand up for lower caseloads so patients get the quality time and care they deserve.”
Next, members of the newly-formed union at Kindred Hospital and Providence will determine their priorities for bargaining and elect bargaining teams. Negotiations on first contracts will follow.