Striking nurses locked out at Valley Hospital
Hospitals remain open
Valley Hospital announced a lockout of many nurses and technical workers who expected to return to work Thursday morning following a one-day strike.
Striking health care workers and service employees at Deaconess Medical Center will return to work Thursday morning.
The move by Valley came after the hospital hired replacement workers for 72 hours to keep the hospital open and counter-punch the first nurses’ strike of a hospital in Spokane history.
“Valley Hospital will be expecting that any striking employee who has not been temporarily replaced will report to work at the start of the first shift after 5:59 a.m. on Thursday,” according to a statement released by the hospital. “Valley Hospital will be expecting that any striking employee who has been temporarily replaced will report to work at the start of the first shift after 5:59 a.m. on Saturday.”
Hospital spokeswoman Sasha Weiler said management does not consider the action a lockout.
Rather, the move is the administration’s effort to fulfill its short-term obligation to temporary workers, she said.
The strike at both hospitals began Wednesday in the bitter cold of 6 a.m.
Teri Nicholson, a registered nurse at Valley on the union bargaining team, said she wasn’t surprised by the lockout.
“It’s another way for the hospitals to punish employees who care enough about our hospital and patients to stand up against unsafe staffing levels.
The 1,100 members of SEIU 1199NW have asked the hospitals to bolster staffing, saying cutbacks are putting patient care and comfort in jeopardy.
The hospitals say staffing is appropriate.