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Providence workers STRIKE!

The following from SEIU Healthcare 1199NW:

EVERETT (Dec. 6, 2017) — After taking action for more than a year to call on Providence Home Health Care and Hospice of Snohomish County to invest in patient care, the 230 nurses, social workers, chaplains, OTs, PTs, hospice aides, and speech therapists began an Unfair Labor Practice strike today. The caregivers will rally with community supporters tonight at 4:30 p.m. at Everett’s Wetmore Theater Plaza.

“It feels like the agency is being run as a business with less concern for the key people the Providence sisters lifted up in their mission,” said John Shannon, a Social Worker with Providence Home Care of Snohomish County.  “We as caregivers strive to care and be present with our patients and our values—that’s why we have no choice but to strike.”

Caregivers are calling for more time to spend with patients, more reasonable on-call time to allow them to be more alert with patients, and improved wages to address high turnover that impacts the continuity of care.  The agency provides end-of-life care in inpatient or wherever patients live as well as healthcare support for in-home patients but caregivers report being rushed from one patient to the next. Providence St. Joseph Health, the agency’s parent corporation with 50 hospitals and more than 800 clinic facilities, made $64 million in profit in 2016.

“Providence has become a huge corporation determined to turn a deaf ear to our concerns. We who provide care bring our skills, our hands, and our hearts to our patients every day,” said Cynthia Robson, a Masters in Social Work in the Hospice.  “It’s time for Providence to work with us so we can provide the BEST care to every patient, every time.”

Caregivers have already participated in community leafleting, an informational picket, petition gathering, and other actions in their ongoing effort to come to a resolution that puts patient care first.  Despite eleventh hour bargaining yesterday, Providence has failed to bring proposals to the table that would invest in patient care and respect the experience and compassion of the caregivers.

“A strike is the last thing we want to do, but Providence has been unwilling to listen to our voices,” said Florence Gustafson, RN.  “We’re here for our patients, and that means taking action to hold Providence accountable to patient needs and to how Providence treats its staff.”

Picketing will take place daily during the agency’s business hours, 6:45 a.m. until 5 p.m.  A community rally is planned for tonight, December 6, at 4:30 p.m. at Wetmore Theater Plaza in Everett.

PREVIOUSLY at The Stand — Providence Health & Hospice set to strike; rally Dec. 6 in Everett

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