Spokane hospital workers vote to ratify new contract

Amid countdown to ULP strike, SEIU Healthcare 1199NW reaches agreement with MultiCare Deaconess and Valley hospitals that addresses short-staffing issues, recruitment and retention.


The following is from SEIU Healthcare 1199NW:

SPOKANE (April 5, 2024) — More than 1,400 healthcare workers at Deaconess and Valley Hospitals united in SEIU Healthcare 1199NW ratified an agreement this week that raises base wages by more than 13 percent for nurses, 16-18.5 percent for techs, and 17-25.5 percent for service workers over the life of the contract, in addition to increases in overtime and premium pay for all. The bargaining unit includes nurses, techs, and service workers at Valley Hospital in Spokane Valley, and techs and service workers at Deaconess Hospital in Spokane.

The agreement averts a strike and represents a meaningful step toward recruiting and retaining experienced healthcare workers in the Spokane area to better care for the communities that MultiCare serves. Through an energetic public campaign, the union workers issued an urgent call for MultiCare to address the ongoing recruitment and retention challenges faced by healthcare workers in local MultiCare facilities.

“Over the last eight months, healthcare workers stayed unified and worked together to secure a strong contract with some of the largest wage increases in our hospitals’ history,” said Shawn Crawford, CNA at Deaconess Hospital. “These wages will help us recruit, retain, and continue providing quality patient care that our community deserves and be able to take care of our families.”

Beginning at ratification and continuing through December 2025, the workers will see the following across-the-board wage increases and market adjustments in addition to annual wage step increases:

  • Nurses won more than 13 percent in wage increases in addition to the 12 percent wage increase previously won through mid-contract bargaining in April 2023. They also won increases in premium pay for evening, night, weekend, and on-call shifts of $4/hour. With this contract, Valley Hospital nurses will be the highest paid nurses in the Spokane region through at least the end of 2025.
  • Tech workers — including pharmacy techs, respiratory care practitioners, surgical techs, and others — won across-the-board wage increases of 16-18.5 percent, in addition to market adjustments of an additional 2.5 percent for job classes that were behind local market rates, plus increases on premium pay for on-call and call-back minimums of $3.75/hour.
  • Service workers, such as CNAs, food service workers, health unit coordinators, and others, won the largest raises for service workers in Deaconess and Valley history, with 17-25.5 percent across-the-board wage increases for the life of the contract in addition to market adjustments ranging from 2.25 to 8.25 percent. ER techs, for example, will see a wage increase of 18.25 percent during the first year of the contract alone.

In addition to historic wage increases, the workers secured a minimum of three hours’ pay for scheduled or unscheduled call-back, and all members will receive time and a half pay on their entire second shift if they miss their guaranteed rest between shifts.

“This new contract secured important wage increases for every member in all job classes,” said Kathleen Kelley, RN, a medical-surgical nurse at Valley Hospital. “These wage increases will allow us to recruit and retain qualified staff to provide safe patient care. The gains we made in wages could not have been accomplished without our union. When we stand united as union siblings, we are a force for change.”

A priority of the union bargaining team was to protect the “Hometown Discount,” which helps offset healthcare costs for workers and their families who receive care at local MultiCare facilities; the workers prevailed and maintained this hard-won contract standard that MultiCare management had proposed to take away. The workers stood strong in their demand for MultiCare, a Tacoma-based healthcare corporation, to invest in our Eastern Washington communities and uphold the same commitment to quality of care and safe staffing as is found in Western Washington MultiCare facilities.

The workers delivered an unfair labor practice strike notice on March 27; the countdown was underway when the tentative agreement was reached late Friday. Ratification votes took place earlier this week, and the contract was ratified with overwhelming support from the membership.

“Striking is always our last resort, but when it comes down to it, healthcare workers will do what’s necessary to provide for their families and make sure patients receive safe, quality care,” said Jane Hopkins, RN, president of SEIU Healthcare 1199NW. “This historic contract will go a long way toward making sure we can attract dedicated and passionate staff, and it will incentivize MultiCare’s long-time experienced employees to continue working in their Spokane community. We are proud to say that with our union’s persistence and solidarity, workers placed enough pressure on MultiCare to bring serious proposals to the table and avert an unfair labor practice strike with a strong agreement.”

Bargaining began in August 2023. The new contract expires on Dec. 31, 2026.

SEIU Healthcare 1199NW is a union of nurses and healthcare workers with over 33,000 caregivers throughout hospitals, clinics, mental health, skilled home health and hospice programs in Washington state and Montana. SEIU Healthcare 1199NW’s mission is to advocate for quality care and good jobs for all. 


READY FOR A RAISE?  Get more information about how you can join together with co-workers and negotiate for better wages and working conditions. Or go ahead and contact a union organizer today!

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