The Stand

Providence urged to keep promises at Kadlec

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‘We’re picketing to say our community is done being a low priority.’

 

The following is from SEIU Healthcare 1199NW:

RICHLAND (April 26, 2018) — When Providence took over Kadlec Regional Medical Center it pledged to make improvements in the facility, but according to the more than 800 nursing assistants, radiology techs, dietary and housekeeping staff, certified surgical technologists, and more at the hospital. Providence is not keeping its promises. The caregivers picketed on Wednesday to send the message that it’s time for the corporate giant to invest in better care and better jobs in the Tri Cities.

“Patients here deserve the same great care as patients in Spokane or Seattle,” said Mike Hampton, Surgical Tech.  “Providence needs to have the same standards for care and for jobs at Kadlec as they do elsewhere. We’re picketing to say our community is done being a low priority.”

The caregivers point to how revenue per patient, a measure of how care is priced, has gone up 17% since Providence took over yet staff haven’t seen increases in staffing or in wages and benefits but have instead faced cuts to their paid time off.  Caregivers’ proposals to have a stronger voice in staffing and to improve wages and benefits have been rejected by Providence.

“Providence has billions of dollars that they could use to make sure our patients get great care, our staffing is better, and our jobs can support our families,” said Suzanne Morell, a CT Tech at the hospital. “It’s a shame that they’re treating Tri Cities patients and workers like we’re nothing but a source of dollars.”

The caregivers formed their union with SEIU Healthcare 1199NW a year ago and have been bargaining their first contract, calling for Kadlec to match the standards of other contracts at Providence facilities including St. Peter in Olympia and Swedish in Seattle.

“It’s wrong that Providence is failing our community, its patients, and its workers,” said Kennewick City Council Member Steven Lee. “We support these caregivers in their fight for accountability, for good jobs, and for good care.”

Community supporters and elected officials joined the caregivers on the picket line to spread the word about Providence’s misplaced priorities. The caregivers pledged to keep bargaining toward a settlement but haven’t ruled out future actions if necessary to improve care and jobs.

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 www.seiu1199nw.org.


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