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Strike date set: Workers at Swedish to announce strike plan

MEDIA ADVISORY:
Thurs., Jan. 2, 2020

CONTACT:

Amy Clark, SEIU Healthcare 1199NW
amyc@seiu1199nw.org
425.306.2061

Tom Geiger, UFCW 21
tgeiger@ufcw21.org
206.604.3421

Ruth Schubert, WSNA
rschubert@wsna.org 
206.713.7884

STRIKE DATE SET: 13,000 NURSES AND HEALTHCARE WORKERS AT SWEDISH, PROVIDENCE TO ANNOUNCE STRIKE PLAN JAN. 3
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, King County Executive Dow Constantine to attend in support of striking workers

WHO: Nurses and healthcare workers from SEIU Healthcare 1199NW, WSNA and UFCW 21 at Swedish Medical Center and other Providence-owned hospitals, elected officials, and labor leaders.

WHAT: Press conference announcing intent of 13,000 workers to strike at Swedish Medical Center and multiple Providence hospital locations across Washington state.

WHEN: Friday, January 3, 7:45 a.m.

WHERE: Boylston Place Park, 815 Broadway, Seattle.

SEATTLE—The nurses and healthcare workers of SEIU Healthcare 1199NW, UFCW 21 and the Washington State Nurses Association will announce their intent to strike in press conferences Friday to be held in Seattle and Spokane.

After months, or in some cases years, of negotiations, caregivers at Providence facilities across Washington state say contract proposals put forth by Providence still do not address workers’ serious patient care concerns or fix ongoing unfair labor practices.

At Swedish-Providence, nurses and healthcare workers of SEIU Healthcare 1199NW have made contract proposals that would increase staffing to safer levels to improve the quality of care; recruit and retain staff to close the 900-caregiver gap at Swedish; address the grave workload and safety concerns of healthcare workers at the front line of infection control; and create a strong culture of diversity and inclusion for both employees and patients. Management has responded by proposing committees, new layers of management and pay increases that do not meet the rising cost of living in the Seattle area.

In addition to patient safety concerns, nurses and healthcare workers of UFCW 21 and WSNA at other Providence-owned hospitals, including Regional Medical Center in Everett, St. Peter Hospital in Olympia and Sacred Heart Regional Medical Center in Spokane, are fighting proposals from management that would cut benefits from already inadequate high-deductible health insurance plans.

Caregivers from all three unions believe Providence has committed multiple unfair labor practices, such as termination of workers for union activity, threatened retaliation for protected union activity, illegal intimidation, interrogation about union activities and a failure to provide timely information necessary for bargaining. These unfair labor practices demonstrate an unwillingness to bargain in good faith and are a key driver of caregivers’ decision to strike.

At the Seattle press conference announcing the strike plan, SEIU Healthcare 1199NW caregivers from Swedish-Providence, and from across the Providence system from UFCW 21 and WSNA, will share their deep concerns about the patient care crisis that has driven them to call a strike. Along with Mayor Durkan and Executive Constantine, healthcare workers will be joined by leaders of public service unions who will describe their concerns for patient safety and public health in light of short staffing at Swedish-Providence.

Healthcare workers from SEIU Healthcare 1199NW, UFCW 21 and WSNA at Providence facilities across the state are unified in their intent to strike beginning January 14. Together, caregivers are taking on a multi-state system with a corporate-wide strategy to cut benefits for health care workers. Providence is a $24 billion corporation that sits on an $11 billion cash reserve. The corporation can afford to provide good benefits and wages to the nurses and healthcare workers it employs and should start treating its employees fairly. When employees of Providence are treated fairly, patients care and safety will improve.

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About SEIU Healthcare 1199NW
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.

About UFCW 21
UFCW 21 is working to build a powerful union that fights for economic, political and social justice in our workplaces and our communities. We represent over 45,000 workers in retail, grocery stores, health care, and other industries in Washington state.

About WSNA
WSNA is the leading voice and advocate for nurses in Washington state, providing representation, education and resources that allow nurses to reach their full professional potential and focus on caring for patients. WSNA represents more than 17,000 registered nurses for collective bargaining across the state.