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Tuesday, October 20, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sacred Heart nurses reach tentative agreement with Providence officials

UPDATED: Tue., Jan. 7, 2020

A picket, organized by the United Food and Commercial Workers union, was held outside Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center by nurses and staff on June 27, 2019. (Libby Kamrowski / The Spokesman-Review)
A picket, organized by the United Food and Commercial Workers union, was held outside Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center by nurses and staff on June 27, 2019. (Libby Kamrowski / The Spokesman-Review)

Nurses at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center reached a tentative contract agreement early Friday that could help avert a feared strike.

The Washington State Nurses Association and Providence officials entered marathon negotiation sessions after the threat last week of a statewide strike with other unions led to further discussions between both parties.

The tentative agreement, which was reached at 3 a.m., includes enhanced language on staffing levels and workplace violence and protects paid time off and extended illness benefits, according to a WSNA news release.

“This tentative agreement protects the benefits our members have earned and secures new investments in patient care and workplace safety,” Darry Johnson, a cardiac intensive care nurse, said in a news release. “This is a major victory for Sacred Heart nurses and our entire Spokane community.”

More than 1,900 nurses at Sacred Heart are eligible to vote on the agreement on Jan. 16.

“We will wait until after the ratification vote to discuss details,” a brief update from Providence officials said.

Negotiations continued with United Food and Commercial Workers International Union 21, which represents about 1,600 workers at Sacred Heart Medical Center and Holy Family Hospital.

WSNA, UFCW 21 and SEIU Healthcare 1199 NW, which united their efforts last month, represent more than 13,000 nurses and other health care workers at Providence locations statewide.

“SEIU Healthcare 1199 NW, UFCW 21 and WSNA stand united for patient care and safety, and our unity has made us strong. This was the key to reaching the Tentative Agreement at Sacred Heart with WSNA,” the unions said in a statement released Tuesday. “Now we will continue our hard work and unity to ensure that every worker at Providence gets a fair contract that helps protect patient care and safety and improves the working conditions at all these Providence hospitals across Washington.”


Arielle Dreher's reporting for The Spokesman-Review is funded in part by Report for America and by members of the Spokane community. This story can be republished by other organizations for free under a Creative Commons license. For more information on this, please contact our newspaper’s managing editor.

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