SPOKANE -- (June 6, 2016) The registered nurses of Sacred Heart, represented by the Washington State Nurses Association, will return to the table on June 7 and 8 for their second and third days of federal mediation in contract negotiations with Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center. Updates on progress will be available following the mediation sessions.
WSNA members will hold meetings on June 14 to plan next steps.
On the first day of mediations, May 31, hundreds of Sacred Heart registered nurses and their supporters gathered outside administrative offices to show their solidarity and support for their bargaining team. On that day, little progress was made towards resolving the primary issues in these contract negotiations:
- Safe Nurse StaffingOverworked nurses, who are struggling to care for too many patients or
who can’t squeeze in a rest or meal break, cannot give their patients
their best. Nurses who find it hard to take time off because they’re
getting called in or asked to cover staff shortages burn out.
WSNA has proposed contract language that each unit in Sacred Heart Medical Center’s facilities shall maintain staffing levels that ensure safe patient care and the safety of the nurses. We have also proposed that staffing levels shall be maintained so that nurses receive meal and rest breaks and are able to utilize available time off from work. Management simply says “NO.”
- Benefit Protection and PredictabilityIn recent years, nurses have seen retirement and medical benefits cut and cut. Three years ago, Providence eliminated a good health plan and replaced it with a high-deductible plan. Six years ago, Providence got rid of the nurses’ pension plan. This time, Providence wants to be able to try to reduce benefits during the life of the contract. They want to cut back dental and vision, too. The nurses are tired of takeaway after takeaway.
The Providence Sacred Heart contract covers about 1,787 Registered Nurses. The first negotiation session between WSNA and Providence Sacred Heart management was held on Dec. 15, 2015. We have had 10 negotiation sessions so far and one mediation session, on May 31.
Find the Sacred Heart nurses on Facebook at /NursesAtTheHeart
WSNA is the leading voice and advocate for nurses in Washington state, providing union representation and trainings that allow nurses to reach their full professional potential and focus on caring for patients. WSNA represents more than 17,000 registered nurses who provide care in hospitals, clinics, schools and community and public health settings across the state. For more than 100 years, WSNA has championed issues that support nurses, advance professional standards and improve the health of individuals and families in Washington.