Hundreds of health care workers gathered outside of Providence Regional Medical Center Everett in Washington on June 6 to educate the public about the need for better contracts. The workers, who are members of UFCW Local 21 and employed as nurses, as well as professional and technical staff, were joined by community members and elected officials at the informational pickets, which took place at both the Pacific and Colby campuses.
After months of negotiations, the workers are demanding that management address staffing problems by recruiting and retaining the highest quality health care professionals, and giving front line health care professionals a real voice in establishing safe staffing levels. They are also asking for management to ensure job security so that they can continue to provide quality health care service. The contract for the nurses at Providence Regional Medical Center Everett expired last October, and the contract for professional staff expired in March. The contract for technical staff expires this month.
Two registered nurses at Providence Regional Medical Center Everett reflected on the power of standing together for better contracts.
“Today was about solidarity. It was about unity, it was about power,” said Sue Woodard. “We are fed up with management and we want to get the contract settled. They know what it’s going to take. The ball is firmly in their court.”
“I hope management understands that we are serious about staffing issues,” said Bill Hisaw. “Not just for RNs, but for all of the people who work here. This is a house-wide issue that needs to be addressed in our contracts.”