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Providence strike expands to second facility in Olympia

providence-strike2-frontOLYMPIA (Mar. 13, 2013) — This morning, more than 150 RNs, social workers, licensed practical nurses and other staff at Providence SoundHomeCare and Hospice joined some 530 Providence St. Peter Hospital employees on strike. Providence, which made $239 million in profit in the last reporting year, continues to refuse the workers’ — and the community’s — calls for an agreement that includes affordable healthcare, reasonable time off with families, and an end to what their union, SEIU HealthCare 1199NW, says are unfair labor practices.

“Since January 1st, I’ve already hit the $3,000 deductible (on the plan imposed by Providence management),” said Zeryn Zaire, a hospice RN at SoundHomeCare and Hospice. “I’ve had to put my health expenses on a line of credit and I’m paying hundreds a month for medication. This is how Providence ‘cares for all’?!”

The St. Peter Hospital workers have been on strike since 6 a.m. Monday and now with SoundHomeCare and Hospice workers joining them on the line, the largest healthcare workers’ strike since 2004 swells to approximately 700 workers. The SoundHomeCare and Hospice workers’ strike will end at 6:59 a.m. this Saturday, March 16 and the St. Peter’s strike will last until 9:59 a.m. that day.

TAKE A STAND! Here are 3 ways you can support affordable care at Providence:

1. Seek care elsewhere and delay care during the strike.

2. Come to the picket line.  The St. Peter’s picket line is at Lilly Rd & Ensign Rd NE in Olympia. The SoundHomeCare and Hospice picket line is at 3432 South Bay Rd NE in Olympia. Rally with them each day at 5 p.m., and walk with them throughout the day.

3. Be an online activist.  Sign their online petition at and share their Facebook posts at with your friends.

Providence slashed employee healthcare benefits on January 1, implementing catastrophic high-deductible plans. On Feb. 23, a community coalition came together to examine the impact of the cuts on the South Sound. Business owners, elected officials, and faith leaders agree that Providence’s cuts reach far beyond its employees.

“The major healthcare provider in Thurston County is going in the wrong direction for our community,” said Thurston County Commissioner Karen Valenzuela.  “This profitable employer is increasing costs to workers who are least able to afford it. It’s not a good thing for our community to have workers choosing between their healthcare and other basic needs like groceries.”

For more information, visit the SEIU HealthCare 1199NW website.

Here’s a video from the picket line, courtesy of Washington federation of Public Employees, Council 28:


ALSO at The Stand — The sad irony of hospitals slashing employees’ health benefits (by Brendan Williams)

CHECK OUT THE UNION DIFFERENCE in Washington: higher wages, affordable health and dental care, job and retirement security.

FIND OUT HOW TO JOIN TOGETHER with your co-workers to negotiate for better wages, benefits, and a voice at work. Or go ahead and contact a union organizer today!