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Swedish nurses, caregivers vote ‘no confidence’ in management

The following is from SEIU Healthcare 1199NW:

SEATTLE (Dec. 13, 2017) — The union of nurses and caregivers at all Swedish-Providence campuses voted 98% “No Confidence” in Swedish and Providence administration following dozens of complaints about poor staffing, broken supplies, and management racism. The nurses and caregivers announced their vote Tuesday night at a speak-out event where a dozen caregivers from Swedish campuses shared examples of what they face at the bedside.

“We, the frontline caregivers, have tried to partner with management, and we’ve tried to make management listen to these critical problems, but they have refused to act,” said Delores Prescott, a nurse at Swedish First Hill. “We are sounding the alarm — quality patient care is on the line.”

Speakers highlighted problems ranging from Swedish understaffing to having broken suction machines to racist comments from managers that went unaddressed. The caregivers have raised these problems at the bargaining table, in labor-management and staffing committee meetings, and through direct actions, yet Swedish-Providence has not acted.

“In my unit, we have faced instances where we are without basic supplies and fully functioning equipment that me and my coworkers need to treat patients and care for them,” said Douglas Davis, a tech at Swedish Edmonds.  “One incident that occurred late this summer, my coworker was attempting to treat a patient who was vomiting blood. Both of the suction machines we would normally use to help a patient in this state were either not working or malfunctioning. In emergency situations, time is critical and it was only through the resourcefulness of the staff that we were able to avert any further crisis. However, we often don’t have enough staff to handle emergencies like this when they come up.”

A panel of community leaders including Rep. Eileen Cody, Seattle City Council Member Teresa Mosqueda, and Executive Director of the Church Council of Greater Seattle Michael Ramos heard the comments and responded with a call to action.

“It is unacceptable that Providence is taking the low road, putting profits ahead of patient care at Swedish,” said Robin Wyss, Secretary-Treasurer of SEIU Healthcare 1199NW. “We will not stand by while our patient care is at risk.”

SEIU Healthcare 1199NW is nearly 30,000 nurses, healthcare workers, and mental health workers throughout Washington state united to improve our jobs and the care we give. For more information, visit

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