Providence Home Care workers picket to improve staffing

The following is from SEIU HealthCare 1199NW:

EVERETT (March 29, 2017) — Providence Home Care and Hospice of Snohomish County nurses and healthcare workers provide compassionate care for our community’s most vulnerable, yet they struggle with heavy caseloads, long on-call hours, and sub-standard wages and benefits. That’s why the more than 200 caregivers picketed and rallied with community supporters outside the agency’s offices on Tuesday morning, calling for more investment in staffing and caregivers.

“We love our patients, and that’s why we have to take a stand,” said Lee Thompson, a nurse in Home Health Care.  “Providence is not giving us the time we need with our patients, nor the time we need with our own families.”

The caregivers formed their union with SEIU Healthcare 1199NW in 2016 and have been bargaining for a first contract that would improve staff recruitment and retention and would reduce unmanageable workloads.  Providence management has refused to make improvements that would invest in care and caregivers.

“The Sisters of Providence inspired us to the Core Values of Justice, Stewardship, Excellence, Respect, and Compassion,” said April Frazier, a Chaplain. “I think the Sisters would be deeply saddened and appalled to see what has happened after they turned over the management of their Providence ministries to the current leadership. Providence makes unprecedented profits from the care we give, yet at the same time, we are not allowed the adequate resources so we can provide the highest quality care for our patients and families.”

Some caregivers report not having the time they need to fully comfort patients and their families, while Chaplains report a system of being on-call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  Yet the caregivers persist, committed to their patients.

“Mother Joseph founded Providence for a mission, the people,” said Sister Helen Brennan, a Sister of Providence.  “That’s why we’re here today.”

While caregivers continue to negotiate with Providence, they remain committed to standing up and speaking out publicly for better care.

SEIU Healthcare 1199NW is 29,000 nurses and healthcare workers united to improve our jobs and the care we give.

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