In 2021, the Washington State Nurses Association (WSNA) joined health care unions SEIU 1199NW and UFCW 21, which represent more than 71,000 healthcare workers in the state, to form WA Safe + Healthy. This coalition called on Washington state legislators to pass safe staffing standards for the health and safety of workers and patients.
The coalition outlined better outcomes for not only the patients and healthcare workers but would also benefit the hospitals in the long term. As laid out, the coalition said,
“I’ve been a nurse for 26 years, and I’ve never seen so many colleagues leaving,” said Julia Barcott, a critical care nurse at Astria Toppenish Hospital and WSNA union leader. “They are retiring early, they are leaving to become travelers, and they have gone to less stressful jobs in clinics or freestanding surgical centers to get out of the pressure cooker that has become bedside care. This has meant that we are scrambling to cover our patients’ needs – it’s bad for nurses and healthcare workers, and it’s bad for patients.”