The following is from SEIU HealthCare 1199NW:
TUKWILA (May 14, 2015) — Nurses and healthcare workers at Cascade Behavioral Hospital took a stand for patient care Thursday morning as they linked arms and walked out of the hospital to call for improved staffing and an end to unfair labor practices. The workers are members of SEIU Healthcare 1199NW.
Nurses and healthcare workers cite chronic staffing shortages and high turnover as warnings that patients aren’t getting the care they need, leaving both patients and staff open to ongoing assaults and injuries.
Tennessee-based Acadia Healthcare, a for-profit mental health provider, purchased the former Highline Medical Center in 2013, raising concerns that for-profit providers are capitalizing on our state’s mental health crisis, putting both patients and staff at risk.
“Every patient we care for needs a safe and therapeutic environment, but I feel like we can’t do that when I’m one nurse, caring for up to 20 patients, many of whom have been involuntarily committed and need very specific care. If one patient acts out or one patient needs me, that means I’m unavailable for the others, and that can be a safety issue for both staff and the other patients,” said RN Heather Mitchell.
“Mental health should not be for profit, but it seems like Acadia Healthcare only cares about the money, not the people,” Mitchell said.
Acadia Acadia’s revenue grew by 41% last year, generating $83 million in net profit. Acadia Healthcare CEO Joey Jacobs saw his base salary increase 52% last year, with his total compensation at $6.2 million, all while rejecting solutions to staffing and safety concerns in the Tukwila facility.
“Acadia Healthcare isn’t listening when we tell them this isn’t right,” said Sheran Thomas, a CNA in the geriatric psychiatry unit. “CEO Joey Jacobs is making millions, but as frontline staff we need to know he’s listening to what our patients need, not just the shareholders.”
The strike will continue until 6:59am on Friday. Workers will be joined by elected officials and community leaders at a rally 12:45pm Thursday.
More than 100 nurses and healthcare workers at Cascade Behavioral Hospital are united in SEIU Healthcare 1199NW.
SEIU Healthcare 1199NW is 26,000 nurses, healthcare employees, and mental health workers in hospitals, agencies, and clinics statewide.