EVERETT — Nurses on strike at Providence Regional Medical Center Everett garnered national attention this week as Sen. Bernie Sanders showed support for their cause on social media.
The high-profile independent Vermont senator known for his labor rights advocacy made multiple social media posts this week showing solidarity with the Everett nurses, including a video reel on Instagram.
“Nurses are the backbone of American health care, and they deserve the adequate staffing and safe working conditions they need to deliver the care their patients deserve,” he posted to X, the website formerly known as Twitter, on Tuesday.
I stand in solidarity with @UFCW_3000 Providence Regional Medical Center nurses on ULP strike in Everett, WA. Nurses are the backbone of American health care, and they deserve the adequate staffing and safe working conditions they need to deliver the care their patients deserve.
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) November 14, 2023
In an Instagram reel posted Friday, nurses Julie Bynum, Kelli Johnson, Juan Stout and others spoke about how their working conditions exhaust staff and threaten patient safety. In the reel’s caption, Sanders wrote, “We must stand with them.”
By Saturday morning, the video on the senator’s personal account had received over 18,000 likes.
“It’s great this is getting national attention,” Bynum said Saturday. “Safe staffing isn’t just an issue Providence Everett is dealing with, it’s nationwide.”
Sanders is a self-proclaimed activist for labor unions and the working class, and serves as chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. Last month, he criticized nonprofit hospitals like Providence for not providing enough charity care.
“Nurses at Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett, Washington are on strike fighting for adequate staffing, fair wages, and safe working conditions,” he posted to Instagram Friday. “We must stand with them.”
Union nurses were set to continue their walkout until Sunday morning.
“Hospital operations continue to run smoothly,” Kristy Carrington, Providence’s regional CEO, said Saturday. “We are looking forward to our nurses returning to work on Sunday morning, and going back to the bargaining table when both parties are ready.”
Nurses want a contract that gives them extra pay during understaffed shifts to encourage safe staffing. Providence has offered nurses a 21.5% raise over three years, schedule flexibility, free mental health visits and other incentives, said Michelle Lundstrom, chief nursing officer at the Everett hospital.