Health care workers at St. Joseph Medical Center picketing over working conditions

Nurses at St. Joseph Medical Center in Tacoma took to the streets Wednesday morning with picket signs, demanding better pay and staffing.

Nearly two years into the pandemic, nurses say they’re being pulled to other duties due to staffing issues.

The Washington State Nurses Associ­a­tion says the medical center needs to commit to minimum staffing standards and that the hospital is chron­i­cally understaffed.

It continues to get more diffi­cult, more challenging, and it is putting our patients at risk,” nurse Chelsey Roos said.

The nurses KIRO 7 spoke with say they would rather be with patients, but workers’ condi­tions in the hospital forced them to the picket line.

We need compet­i­tive wages… we’re losing nurses at an alarming rate,” Roos said.

Nurse Emily Nollmeyer Da’nna says she often has to leave patients who are in labor.

I was caring for a Covid patient several weeks ago, who was having her labor induc­tion and I had to stop her induc­tion to start triaging other patients,” Nollmeyer Da’nna said.

KIRO 7 reached out to the group that oversees St. Joseph Medical Center, which provided this statement:

We value our regis­tered nurses and are committed to providing a safe work environ­ment with compet­i­tive wages and benefits that attract and retain the very best. As we face an unprece­dented health care staffing shortage, we are also offering incen­tive pay, bonuses, and training oppor­tu­ni­ties for our staff. Our proposal to the union is fair and compa­rable to the pay and benefits of other employees throughout our hospital system and the Puget Sound area. We respect the collec­tive bargaining process and as we move forward with ongoing negoti­a­tions, patients at St. Joseph Medical Center can expect to receive uninter­rupted, quality care,” said Cary Evans, vice presi­dent, of commu­ni­ca­tions and govern­ment affairs at Virginia Mason Franciscan Health.

KIRO 7: Health care workers at St. Joseph Medical Center picketing over working conditions (11/3/21)