The truth about Providence Sacred Heart

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When you see stories about Sacred Heart, we want you to ask yourself a simple question: 

Who should I trust — the nurses in my commu­nity or a corpo­rate PR depart­ment in Seattle?”

Sacred Heart nurses are there on the front­lines taking care of the people you love. We are there to keep families safe and healthy. Through our union, we are working to protect our benefits. For the past year, we’ve been negoti­ating a new contract with management. 

Provi­dence Sacred Heart is our commu­nity hospital, but it is owned and managed by Provi­dence St. Joseph’s Health, the third-largest health system in the United States with tens of billions in annual revenue. Provi­dence is intent on maximizing corpo­rate profits at Sacred Heart, and its proposals will hurt workers, patients and our entire community. 

Nurses aren’t asking for the moon. We’re demanding Provi­dence invest in patient care by adequately staffing our hospital, imple­menting new measures to keep nurses safe on the job, and maintaining the benefits we’ve already earned. But Sacred Heart manage­ment is taking their marching orders from corpo­rate headquar­ters in Seattle and refusing to meaning­fully address nurses’ concerns. They’re dismissing our common-sense proposals while trying to take away benefits we’ve earned and pushing the cost of sick time onto the backs of hardworking taxpayers through the state’s new Family and Medical Leave plan 

In recent days, Provi­dence has flooded Spokane media with incom­plete and misleading infor­ma­tion designed to turn the commu­nity against our nurses. 

Unfor­tu­nately, multiple outlets have already run the corpo­rate spin without even seeking comment from workers or our union. Here’s what you’re not hearing when outlets like the Spokesman-Review run corpo­rate press releases as news:

PROVI­DENCE PROPOSALS = CORPO­RATE WELFARE: Corpo­rate execu­tives are pushing a new policy to take away an Extended Illness Benefit (EIB) that allows nurses to take paid leave to care for ourselves or our families. Now, Provi­dence wants taxpayers to foot the bill by cutting our benefits and pushing us onto Washington State’s Paid Medical and Family Leave program. That bill was designed to help working people, not to serve as corpo­rate welfare. Nurses are demanding that Provi­dence maintain the benefits we’ve earned rather than shift costs to taxpayers. 

SACRED HEART FINANCES: The corpo­rate PR depart­ment at Provi­dence gave misleading infor­ma­tion to Spokane media, claiming the hospital has lost money the last three years. Here’s the truth: when you include all income, Sacred Heart was profitable two of those three years. Provi­dence is using bookkeeping tricks to scare workers and patients.

TAKING MONEY FROM SPOKANE: In 2018, Sacred Heart sent $200 million, or 20 percent of the hospital’s revenue, to Providence’s headquar­ters outside Seattle to pay for admin­is­tra­tive costs. That’s money that could have been invested in patient care and workers. 

PROVI­DENCE IS RAKING IN PROFITS. Provi­dence St. Joseph Health is the third-largest health system in the United States. In just the first half of 2019, they brought in over $1 billion in profits. The parent corpo­ra­tion is making more than enough to cover losses at any one hospital. 

EXECU­TIVES OR WORKERS? There’s plenty of money to pay for bonuses and raises for Provi­dence execu­tives. Total compen­sa­tion for execu­tives went up 51.3% in 2017, from $26.9 million in 2016 to $40.7 million in 2017. Average execu­tive compen­sa­tion went from $2.1 million to $3.1 million, and CEO Rod Hochman saw a whopping increase from $4.1 million to $11.5 million in just one year. But these same corpo­rate execu­tives want to cut benefits for workers and push costs onto taxpayers. 

Nurses don’t want a strike. We want to be at the bedside taking care of our patients, not out on the picket line. But we will strike if we have to, for our patients. Provi­dence execu­tives are trying to force a bad deal that will hurt workers and the commu­nity that relies on Sacred Heart. 

As we continue to negotiate, we need commu­nity support. You can start by sharing this fact check with your friends on social media and signing our commu­nity petition at this link.

By standing up for workers, you’re standing up for yourself and your whole Spokane commu­nity. Thank you for helping us put Provi­dence Patients and Workers Over Corpo­rate Profits.