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Some Providence contract wins, but the work’s not done

UPDATE (Jan. 20, 2020) — UFCW 21 members overwhelmingly approve contracts at Holy Family and Sacred HeartUFCW 21 reports that its Tentative Agreements for service and maintenance workers at Providence Sacred Heart and Providence Holy Family in Spokane passed overwhelmingly by a vote of the membership of these bargaining units. Over the weekend, the union announced:

This success was only possible by the courage of workers to stand up to the unfair treatment and unfair proposals from Providence, the unity of UFCW 21, WSNA and SEIU Healthcare 1199NW and the broader Spokane community. UFCW 21 will continue to prepare for and hold vote meetings next (this) week at Providence hospitals in Walla Walla, Centralia, Olympia and Everett. We will also continue to stand united along with WSNA as we support SEIU Healthcare 1199NW workers at Swedish-Providence as they still struggle for a fair contract.


UFCW 21, SEIU Healthcare 1199NW and WSNA unity has been the key to success with Tentative Agreements so far. But important talks continue to improve patient safety.


(Jan. 16, 2020) — The united unions representing more than 13,000 nurses and frontline healthcare workers at 13 Providence and Swedish hospitals across the state — Washington State Nurses Association, SEIU Healthcare 1199NW and UFCW 21 — are continuing to bargain for contracts that advance patient safety and improve workplace conditions at several of the facilities. And for those units that have reached Tentative Agreements, member ratification votes are being scheduled.

UFCW 21 members have reached fully recommended Tentative Agreements at the following locations:

  • Providence Sacred Heart (Service and Maintenance)
  • Providence Regional Medical Center Everett (Professional and Technical Units)
  • Providence Holy Family
  • Providence Centralia Hospital (RNs)
  • Providence St. Peter’s (RNs)
  • Providence St. Mary’s (RNs)

UFCW 21 has scheduled contract ratification votes for starting today and continuing next week for these Tentative Agreements. The union reports that these agreements held the line against every one of management’s proposed takeaways, including no cuts to paid time off/sick leave and no weakening of health care benefits. They also say the TAs improve work safety standards, improve staffing levels, include significant wage increases and ratification bonus payments, and makes many other improvements.

“We showed that through unity, and a commitment to our patients and each other that we could win a fair contract that is better for patient care and safety, better for staffing and better for the future of our hospitals,” reads a statement from UFCW 21.

WSNA has a reached a Tentative Agreement for nurses at Sacred Heart in Spokane that includes key provisions sought by nurses, including: enhanced language on staffing levels and workplace violence prevention; protection of paid time off and extended illness benefits; limits on employer’s ability to raise premiums and preservation of important health benefits; wage increases of 10% over the duration of the contract; and a ratification bonus of $2,100, pro-rated for part-time nurses.

“Solidarity got us here,” said Nonie Kingma, a psychiatric nurse at Sacred Heart. “When we started negotiations, Providence was determined to cut our benefits, and refused to improve workplace conditions. Our members’ courage and resolve in the face of corporate pressure never wavered, and in the end we won a major victory for ourselves and the people who rely on Sacred Heart.”

Meanwhile, the SEIU Healthcare 1199NW Bargaining Team at Providence-Swedish reports that intensive bargaining for a fair contract has resumed this week:

After much-needed rest and recuperation, we’ve come back to the bargaining table refreshed and united. We received management’s first comprehensive proposal that includes some economic proposals. We’ve started the detailed process of reviewing the package and identifying where we are not yet aligned. It’s going to take some time to be thorough. We demanded that Providence be accountable in this process and we are continuing to send the message that any takeaway is unacceptable.

TAKE A STAND — Please continue to support Providence-Swedish workers still seeking fair contract agreements that protect patient safety by signing the petition of support at

The coordinated campaigns and historic unity of these three unions — and support from the community — is leading to groundbreaking improvements for Providence healthcare workers and patient safety. But the work is not done until ALL Providence bargaining units have fair contracts ratified by the members.

A statement released Wednesday by UFCW 21 sums it all up:

We started out as nine different negotiations across our one union. For months we got essentially nowhere and we were suffering from an increasing number of Unfair Labor Practices. Then we started to turn that around. We coordinated actions across our union, took strike authorization votes and developed a Unity commitment with SEIU Healthcare 1199NW and WSNA. We worked together and ramped up the pressure on Providence to change. They still didn’t move. And then just hours before we collectively would have issued our 10-day notices to strike, we had a breakthrough. Together. This was followed by around the clock negotiations and ongoing unity that resulted in historic Tentative Agreements being reached across all of our bargaining units. We did it together. We remain committed to supporting SEIU Healthcare 1199NW until they reach a Tentative Agreement. And we are committed to keeping up with this collective spirit to enforce our contracts and negotiate together again in years ahead.

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