Providence Hospital in Everett, Washington at sunset on Dec. 11, 2017. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Providence Hospital in Everett, Washington at sunset on Dec. 11, 2017. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

After strike, Everett nurses, Providence agree on tentative contract

Following a five-day strike, union nurses and the hospital met to negotiate for the first time in late November.

EVERETT — Providence Regional Medical Center Everett reached a tentative contract agreement with more than 1,300 union nurses, the hospital announced Monday.

The agreement — reached Friday night — comes after nearly nine months of talks and a five-day strike in November. Nurses walked out Nov. 14 to protest understaffing, the main sticking point between both sides.

As of late November, Providence and Everett nurses remained at odds over staffing language. Nurses wanted a contract that included higher pay during understaffed shifts to help ensure “safe” staffing. For months, nurses have gone public with concerns about how chronic understaffing has caused nurse burnout and endangered patients.

Providence had declined that proposition, but offered raises of 21.5% over three years and incentives for nurses to come into work.

If the new agreement stands, nurses will have a contract that includes most of the terms they have asked for. The nurses’ union, United Food and Commercial Workers 3000, declared victory in a message to nurses Saturday.

“The tentative agreement we reached on December 1st meets our goals and is recommended by a majority of our bargaining team,” the statement reads. “It was through our collective actions we were able to pressure PRMCE to accept many of our staffing concepts, including a staffing premium.”

As of Friday, Providence agreed to pay nurses a $300 bonus for working in a unit averaging at or below 85% of the hospital’s approved staffing levels. Providence Everett is the first hospital in the state to have “binding mediation for unresolved chronic staffing issues” and a staffing premium, according to the union.

Everett nurses’ new base rate of pay is set for $43.91, aligning with Swedish Edmonds. In addition, starting the first full pay period of Oct. 1, 2024, nurses will receive 4% raises across the board. The same time the following year, nurses will receive another 4.5% raise.

Providence leadership and nurses met Thursday and Friday for the first time since the strike ended, Providence spokesperson Erika Hermanson said. Hermanson said more information on the agreement will be available later this week.

“PRMCE and UFCW look forward to continuing our collaborative working relationship supporting the practice of nursing and ensuring high-quality, compassionate care for the patients and communities we serve,” Hermanson said.

Nurses are set to vote on the agreement Dec. 15.

Sydney Jackson: 425-339-3430; sydney.jackson@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @_sydneyajackson.

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