Swedish nurse strike still possible following Dec. 30 negotiations

Not enough progress was made, nurses unions say.

Unhappy with proposals from Providence Health during a Dec. 30 bargaining session, nurses working for Swedish Medical Centers could still decide to go on strike.

Swedish, and it’s parent company Providence, have been in negotiations with nurses’ unions since last April. Nurses cited concerns about under-staffing, hundreds of unfilled positions and wages too low to live near the hospitals or clinics where they work.

There are more than 900 open positions across the Swedish and Providence campuses, and nurses are concerned about how low staff levels can harm patients, a press release from SEIU Healthcare 1199NW said. The union represents 8,000 nurses and other staff at the medical centers and hospitals.

Low staffing levels can lead to longer wait times, the release said. Additionally, standby pay for on-call workers sits around $4.25 an hour with unpredictable schedules.

A press release issued by Swedish said they proposed a 5.5% pay increase by next July and a $750 per-person sign-on bonus in an attempt to avoid a strike. It said nurses at Swedish on average earn more than $96,000 annually. It said it also offered zero-premium medical plans for full-time caregivers and their family.

However, the union’s press release said front line worker pay hasn’t kept up with the cost of living in the area. It said the company pays nearly 40% of its employees below the salary needed to rent a one-bedroom apartment in the Seattle area. Workers commute an average of 84 minutes per day.

In the press release, Swedish said staffing remained a top concern. Health care providers across the country are being impacted by shortages, it said. The company said it will partner with SEIU to host discussions in January focusing on retaining candidates.

“We remain optimistic that a strike can be avoided through good-faith negotiations by both parties,” the release read.

Nurses and other caregivers voted to authorize a strike in November. They could be joined by the Washington State Nurses Association and UFCW 21 at other Providence hospitals across the state. In total, 13,000 health care workers across the state could call a strike after delivering a 10-day notice.




Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@federalwaymirror.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.federalwaymirror.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in News

Courtesy photo
State demanded more drop boxes, and now it must pay for them

A King County judge says a law requiring more ballot boxes was an illegal unfunded mandate.

Jeanne Burbidge poses with her Help, Hope, Change award. Courtesy photo
First-ever virtual luncheon raises $85,000 for Federal Way’s Multi-Service Center

Jeanne Burbidge was awarded MSC’s second-annual Help, Hope, Change award.

Haley Donwerth/staff photo
The Barco family returns to their Des Moines home for the first time since Bernardo, front, lost his left leg and right arm in a motorcycle crash in December 2018. The Federal Way Mirror’s report on Bernardo Barco’s recovery was honored with a first place award for general feature by the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association 2020 Better Newspaper Contest.
Federal Way Mirror earns 7 awards in WNPA’s 2020 Better Newspaper Contest

The Federal Way Mirror’s news team won seven awards in multiple categories… Continue reading

Actors Tom Livingston, left, and Jacob Tice rehearse a scene from Theatre Magic. Courtesy photo
Centerstage Theatre hosts first production of the season

Theatre Magic (And Other Things We Need) premieres Sunday, Oct. 25.

Virginia Mason is hosting its third annual Drug Take Back Event at the Federal Way regional medical center (33501 First Way S.) from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 24.
Pandemic has increased risk for abuse of unused, expired medications

Community encouraged to participate in Drug Take Back Oct. 24

Blotter
BigFoot Java robbed at gunpoint | Police blotter

Following is a sample from the Federal Way police log Oct. 14-20

An artist’s conception of the proposed sculpture to be placed in the pedestrian plaza of the incoming Federal Way Link Extension.
Elephant sculpture among Sound Transit’s proposed public artwork designs

Designed by Donald Lipski, the concept reflects Federal Way’s rich diversity.

King County 2020 unemployment numbers. Source: Washington State Employment Security Department
Boeing, coronavirus likely to impact King County economy

Unemployment remained high in September.

t
Smith, Basler running for District 9 Congress seat

Republican challenger takes on Democrat incumbent.

Most Read