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WSNA nurses at Sacred Heart reach Tentative Agreement

Union coalition credits unity, vows to win fair contracts for ALL Providence healthcare workers


SPOKANE (Jan. 7, 2020) — After more than a year of negotiations with Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center, the bargaining team for the Washington State Nurses Association announced Tuesday that it has reached a Tentative Agreement with management. The WSNA, UFCW 21 and SEIU Healthcare 1199NW credit their unity in contract talks with Providence for the progress and vow to continue fighting for fair contracts for all healthcare workers at Providence hospitals throughout Washington state.

Here is a statement distributed Tuesday by the three unions:

This morning the Washington State Nurses Association (WSNA) announced the reaching of a Tentative Agreement in contract negotiations with Providence at Sacred Heart in Spokane. Over 13,000 nurses and health care workers of our three unions have been in contract negotiations with Providence for months to protect patient care and safety. SEIU Healthcare 1199 NW, UFCW 21, and WSNA stand united for patient care and safety and our unity has made us strong. This was the key to reaching the Tentative Agreement at Sacred Heart with WSNA. Now we will continue our hard work and unity to ensure that every worker at Providence gets a fair contract that helps protect patient care and safety and improves the working conditions at all these Providence hospitals across Washington.

The following was distributed Tuesday by the WSNA:

After 14 months of negotiations with Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center, Washington State Nurses Association reached a Tentative Agreement with management at 3 a.m. on Tuesday, January 7.

“This Tentative Agreement protects the benefits our members have earned and secures new investments in patient care and workplace safety,” said Darryl Johnson, a cardiac intensive care nurse. “This is a major victory for Sacred Heart nurses and our entire Spokane community.”

The tentative agreement 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. “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.”

After months of stalled negotiations, nurses at Sacred Heart and Providence-owned facilities across Washington prepared to give 10-day strike notice last week. Breakthroughs in mediation delayed the 10-day notice. In marathon sessions—including 20 hours on January 6 and 33 total hours over two days—the sides were able to reach a tentative agreement.

Members will vote on the proposed tentative agreement on January 16.

“The nurses at Sacred Heart are so grateful for the outpouring of support from the community we have received over more than a year of contract negotiations,” said KT Raley-Jones, a cardiac intensive care nurse. “This contract agreement gives us the support we need to continue given you the best nursing care.”

Candlelight vigils are planned at Providence hospitals throughout the state — including at Sacred Heart in Spokane — on Wednesday from 5 to 6 p.m. to demonstrate community support for Providence healthcare workers’ fight for patient care and safety. Get the details.

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