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Swedish-Providence nurses ready to walk for better care, jobs

The following is from SEIU HealthCare 1199NW:

1199-swedishSEATTLE (June 22, 2015) — Swedish-Providence needs to invest part of its $110 million profit in improving its staffing levels and investing in frontline caregivers in order to ensure patients get the care they deserve, say the nurses and healthcare workers united in SEIU Healthcare 1199NW. Unless Swedish-Providence agrees to a contract that includes these improvements, the 7,000 nurses and healthcare workers have notified the hospital that they will walk the picket line to call for better care and better jobs.

“Providence is trying to undermine the great care we give at Swedish by undermining our standards,” said Bobbi Gant, an RN in the ICU at Swedish-Providence Edmonds.  “We’re standing up for our patients, our families, and our community.”

The nurses and healthcare workers proposed setting safe maximum numbers of patients per nurse, but Swedish-Providence management refused. Swedish-Providence, which made $110 million in profit in 2014, is instead trying to shift employees to an unaffordable high-deductible health plan and to undermine the quality of jobs available in our community.

“Patients who come to Swedish hospitals are paying for care, not for profit or for lavish CEO salaries,” said Michael Scott, a Radiology Assistant at Swedish-Providence First Hill. “Providence needs to spend our community’s healthcare dollars on healthcare.”

Swedish-Providence has more than 1,600 vacancies, which nurses and healthcare workers attribute to declining standards for staffing and jobs.

Pickets will take place at all Swedish-Providence campuses on Wednesday, July 1 from noon until 2 p.m. followed by a large picket with rally at Swedish-First Hill from 4 to 6:30 p.m. (Click here for a rally flier.)  Nurses and healthcare workers will be picketing during breaks and between shifts.

seiu1199nw“I’ll be there to support these caregivers because they are standing up for all of us,” said Maribel Peralez Williams, a board member from Washington CAN!.  “We need good jobs and safe care.”

SEIU Healthcare 1199NW is 26,000 nurses, healthcare employees, and mental health workers in hospitals, agencies, and clinics statewide.

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