After months of contract negotiations, the union representing nurses at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center said Thursday it has reached a tentative agreement with hospital management.
Officials from the hospital and the Washington State Nurses Association have met 17 times since December to craft a new contract for the union’s 1,787 Sacred Heart nurses, finding little common ground. The main sticking points, nurses said, were chronically low staffing levels and diminishing benefits packages.
“For the first time in bargaining, we were able to secure a commitment from Sacred Heart to provide additional staffing to address issues that have been raised by nurses,” said WSNA spokeswoman Ruth Schubert. “And we fought off management proposals to erode benefits.”
The union’s bargaining team is recommending that nurses adopt the contract, but a vote has not been scheduled, Schubert said. The three-year contract also includes modest salary increases, she said.
Providence spokeswoman Liz Deruyter said the agreement “benefits both parties and meets all our needs.”