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Saturday, September 21, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Providence nurses prepare to strike if contract negotiations continue to stall

UPDATED: Wed., Aug. 21, 2019, 10:17 p.m.

Providence Sacred Heart Hospital is seen from the air June 4, 2018. Jesse Tinsley/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)
Providence Sacred Heart Hospital is seen from the air June 4, 2018. Jesse Tinsley/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)
From staff reports

Nurses in the Providence hospital system are preparing to strike after 10 months of contract negotiations have produced little progress.

Nurses and other unionized workers in the Providence system are negotiating separately against similar proposed changes to paid time-off policies from Providence.

Nurses at Providence Sacred Heart, represented by the Washington State Nurses Association, have begun official strike preparations this week. Nurses with the association have begun to sign up their colleagues to commit to strike if they have to, a news release from the association says.

Health care workers and support staff in the Providence health care system, represented by several unions, are also in the midst of contract negotiations.

United Food and Commercial Workers 21 represents 1,600 service and maintenance staff at Holy Family Hospital and Sacred Heart Medical Center, which include nursing assistants, financial counselors, housekeepers, dietitians and others.

The nurses association represents about 1,900 registered nurses at Sacred Heart.

Representatives of UFCW 21 did not respond to a request for a comment about whether they plan to strike as well.

Proposed changes to accrued extended illness time will affect longtime employees the most, but Providence has consistently maintained that the changes will “support all caregivers regardless of seniority.”

The next scheduled contract negotiation has been set for Aug. 28.

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