Protects sick time; includes staffing and workplace safety language
Spokane, Wash.—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.”