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St. Pete’s caregivers, supporters picket for better wages, care

The following is from SEIU HealthCare 1199NW:

OLYMPIA (Feb. 2, 2017) — Providence St. Peter Hospital is paying its CEO more than $1 million a year while caregivers are unable to afford rent in Olympia. That’s why 600-plus nursing assistants, housekeepers, dietary workers, and others united in SEIU Healthcare 1199NW picketed St. Pete’s hospital on Wednesday, calling the wealthy corporation to make a real investment in its caregivers and its community.

Caregivers and community supporters picketed, chanted, and shared their stories about the campaign to win a union contract that includes a real investment in caregivers and patients.

“I am a long time employee of St. Peter’s and am dedicated to achieve the Sister’s mission. That mission includes the employees that work hard to serve the community,” said Angel Robeson who works in Surgical Short Stay and is a member of the contract bargaining team.  “Being fair is not hard: compensate the people that work hard to build higher standards at Providence.”

Caregivers are working without a contract after Providence refused proposals to bring their wages closer to a living wage, to make family healthcare more affordable, and to improve staffing.  At the same time that it’s refusing caregivers’ call for investments, Providence Health and Services, a 5-state health system, made $303 million in operating profit in 2015.

“We’re standing up for better working standards,” said Admitter Cynthia Hernandez, also a member of the bargaining team. “Most of us are at work longer than we are at home with our families and deserve the same respect and treatment we would want outside of the workplace.”

This is not the first time caregivers have had to take public action to win fair standards from Providence.  For their last contract, caregivers went on strike for 5 days.  Caregivers are committed to continue their campaign until the company agrees to follow its mission of justice for all and act compassionately toward its caregivers.


► In today’s Olympian — Proposed wages and staffing levels spark picket at St. Peter hospital — Chanting and holding signs with messages such as “Patients & Workers Deserve Better” and “Living Wages Now,” dozens of unionized workers (SEIU 1199NW) held an informational picket on the outskirts of the campus of Providence St. Peter Hospital in Olympia on Wednesday.

► Meanwhile in the PSBJ — Providence CEO: The work of 300 caregivers affected by Trump immigration ban ‘literally saves lives’ — Renton-based Providence St. Joseph Health said it has about 300 employees across its seven-state operating zone who are affected by Trump’s travel ban, including doctors, scientists and technology workers.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Ummm… frontline nurses and health care workers also save lives, and they are demanding to be paid a fair wage and treated with respect.

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!