Swedish Medical Center in Seattle. (Joe Mabel / Wikimedia)

Swedish Medical Center in Seattle. (Joe Mabel / Wikimedia)

Strike announcement called off; Providence talks continue

After overnight negotiations, workers and management agreed to return to the bargaining table.

Update 7:05 a.m. Friday: The announcement of a possible strike has been postponed, and the union issued this statement: “After exploratory conversations overnight, SEIU Healthcare 1199NW has postponed its strike notice and agreed to expedited bargaining after Swedish-Providence management made commitments to make progress in bargaining by resolving patient safety and recruitment and retention concerns.”

Earlier story:

SEATTLE — Nurses and caregivers at Providence-affiliated hospitals will announce Friday a plan to strike, citing stalling contract negotiations, according to a news release.

In total, 13,000 Providence- affiliated employees statewide, including Providence Regional Medical Center Everett, Swedish Edmonds and Hospice and Homecare of Snohomish County, could take part in a strike.

“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 concerns or fix ongoing unfair labor practices,” a news release said.

The decision comes days after Swedish laid out a new slate of proposed wage and benefit increases for 8,000 of its employees.

Negotiators from Swedish and the nurses and caregivers union SEIU Healthcare 1199NW met Monday when Swedish offered 5.5% raises by July, a $750 contract ratification bonus for employees, a joint committee with the union to address staffing concerns and other benefits. But union leaders say little progress was made and a strike is still looming.

“This new package reflects our sincere effort to address those concerns, and provides our caregivers with wages and benefits that ensure Swedish remains a leader among health care employers in this market,” said a Monday statement from Swedish.

Members of SEIU Healthcare 1199NW, the union that represents 8,000 Swedish employees, say the offer falls short.

“On top of refusing to make a meaningful commitment, Providence has proposed to tie our wages to patient metrics that we can’t achieve without appropriate staffing,” said Whittney Powers, a registered nurse at Swedish’s Edmonds campus, in a news release. “We feel set up to fail financially and professionally, and we won’t tolerate it.”

At Providence Regional Medical Center Everett, workers with the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 21 authorized a strike in October. Employees are asking for higher wages, better staffing and improved sick leave.

Nearby at Providence Hospice and Homecare of Snohomish County, employees authorized a strike in December, citing high caseloads and low wages.

In November, Swedish nurses and caregivers joined in and authorized a strike.

On Thursday, Swedish and union leaders met with federal mediators to see if the two parties could make progress.

The negotiations have been ongoing since April.

Union members say Swedish and parent company Providence are prioritizing executive pay over serving patients. The staffing committee doesn’t match the urgency of declining quality of care, union spokesperson Amy Clark said.

There are more than 900 vacancies across all Swedish campuses. Swedish’s new plan includes a series of discussions in January at each hospital focused on recruiting and retaining employees.

Joey Thompson: 425-339-3449; jthompson@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @byjoeythompson.

Talk to us

More in Local News

A driver struck a woman in a motorized wheelchair Saturday in Lynnwood. (Lynnwood police)
Woman on wheelchair hit by car in Lynnwood, seriously hurt

The woman was on a sidewalk, passing by a drive-thru in Lynnwood, when a driver pulled out and hit her.

A barge worker hauls in an oil boom before heading off with the remains of the Mukilteo Ferry Dock ramp and pier on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021 in Mukilteo, Washington. With the new dock in operation, all that is left is to tear down the old ticket building. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Old Mukilteo ferry dock afloat on the barge of ‘Lincoln Logs’

The haul included 213 wood pilings, 15 concrete pilings, 47 steel pilings and a “Speed Limit 15” sign.

State Patrol worker from Everett charged with attempted child rape

Trevor Smith worked as a commercial vehicle enforcement officer assigned inspecting school buses.

FILE - In this Jan. 7, 2021, file photo, the Legislative Building is shown partially shrouded in fog at the Capitol in Olympia, Wash. Washington state's richest residents, including Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos, would pay a wealth tax on certain financial assets worth more than $1 billion under a proposed bill whose sponsor says she is seeking a fair and equitable tax code. Under the bill, starting Jan. 1, 2022, for taxes due in 2023, a 1% tax would be levied not on income, but on "extraordinary" assets ranging from cash, publicly traded options, futures contracts, and stocks and bonds. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)
Federal package could drive more than $10B to Washington

The state would get $7.6B for COVID response, schools and child care. Snohomish County is in line for $160M.

Samantha Lake
Missing girl, 12, found safely

Seattle FBI located Samantha Lake on Friday.

Everett man identified after being found dead in creek

The cause of death for Renee Baltazar Romero remained under investigation Thursday.

Jeanette Ho Shin Weddell, 96, died of COVID-19 on Dec. 29, 2020. (Contributed photo)
Marysville grandmother, 96, was one in half a million lost

In a week when the president took time to mourn COVID deaths, local families were grieving, too.

An access road leads into plot of land located in north Darrington that could potentially be used to build a 30-acre Wood Innovation Center, which will house CLT manufacturing and modular building companies on Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021 in Darrington, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
$6 million grant is green light for Darrington timber center

The Darrington Wood Innovation Center is set to become a reality — bringing roughly 150 jobs with it.

Report shows vaccine inequities in Snohomish County

The county’s Hispanic population is getting doses at a third of the rate of white residents.

Most Read