As the leading voice for registered nurses in Washington state, we strive to engage and grow our membership in all arenas.
- Won strong contracts at Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane and Kadlec Regional Medical Center in Richland through organizing, engagement and statewide unity with other unions.
- WSNA Member Ingrid Anderson stepped up to run for State Senate in the 5th legislative district — running an outstanding campaign and earning the endorsement of Governor Inslee. Ingrid fell 57 votes shy of securing this seat, but we are so proud of her for the campaign she ran during this most unusual election year while also serving as a nurse in her community hospital.
Major contract wins at Providence facilities fueled by union solidarity and member engagement #
The growing corporate influence in health care has been a top concern for our members for a number of years. More and more, our hospitals are merging or creating affiliation agreements with large health systems in our state.
In 2018 and 2019, Providence Health & Services, the largest health care provider in Washington state, came to negotiating tables across its entire five-state region with a mission to slash sick time and PTO benefits, and gut health insurance stability.
In 2019, WSNA, SEIU Healthcare 1199NW, UFCW 21 and OPEIU Local 8, representing a total of 20,000 health care workers at facilities across the state, created the Providence United Coalition to support each other and jointly hold executives accountable for solutions at our many bargaining tables. We knew that we needed to stand together to go up against a corporation like Providence.
WSNA had been in tough negotiations for a new contract at Kadlec Regional Medical Center since September 2018 and at Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane since November 2018.
Kadlec and Sacred Heart nurses each held rallies early in 2019; in May, they joined in a Unity Picket held simultaneously in Spokane and Richland. WSNA members at both hospitals brought their nurses together and spread the word through the media; eventually, they began preparing to go on strike. They would have been the first WSNA strikes since the Kadlec nurses’ strike of 1993.
On July 26, 2019, WSNA members from Sacred Health and Kadlec joined Providence health care workers represented by SEIU 1199 and UFCW 21, labor allies and community supporters for a rally at Providence Headquarters in Renton. We brought our message directly to multi-millionaire executives because managers in local Providence facilities refused to address urgent problems including workplace and patient safety concerns, cuts to sick time and paid time off, and competitive benefits and wages to recruit and retain nurses.
Providence responded by making an unimpressive statement to the media that “the most effective venue for discussing labor contracts is at the local bargaining tables,” and “We have full confidence that our local leaders, who are bargaining these contracts, have presented strong pay and benefits packages that are aligned with our values and advance our commitment to creating an exceptional work experience for our caregivers.”
After a powerful organizing campaign, WSNA members at both Kadlec and Sacred Heart voted to authorize strikes in late October 2019. It took many more weeks of tough bargaining, exceptional solidarity and unity with SEIU 1199 and UFCW 21 before we reached agreements.
On Dec. 9, 2019, Kadlec nurses ratified a contract that preserved PTO accruals and caps for all current nurses, enhanced staffing and workplace violence language and included wage increases of 10% over the life of the contract plus a ratification bonus.
On Jan. 16, 2020, Sacred Heart nurses ratified a contract that included no takeaways on Paid Time Off and Earned Illness Time, no changes to short-term disability, ratification bonuses that captured full retro pay, wage increases of 10% for the duration of the contract and enforceable language on staffing and workplace safety.
Our unified work to win great contracts across the entire Providence system in Washington state provides a model for taking on large health systems.
On Dec. 10, 2019, the three unions representing Providence workers announced a unity commitment. More…
Key dates #
SEPT. 12, 2018 — First bargaining session at Kadlec.
NOV. 5, 2018 — First bargaining session at Sacred Heart.
FEB. 25, 2019 — Sacred Heart nurses rally at Riverfront Park in Spokane, drawing 200 nurses in near-freezing temperatures to demand a contract that keeps nurses and patients safe.
MARCH 15, 2019 — Kadlec nurses rally for a fair contract at John Dam Plaza Park in Richland to demand a contract that keeps nurses and patients safe.
MAY 9, 2019 — Simultaneous Unity Pickets at both Sacred Heart and Kadlec draw hundreds of nurses and their supporters.
JULY 26, 2019- Sacred Heart and Kadlec nurses join SEIU 1199NW, UFCW21, OPEIU Local 8, labor partners and community supporters at a “Rally for Patients Before Profits” at the corporate headquarters of Providence in Renton.
AUG. 22, 2019 — Sacred Heart and Kadlec nurses join statewide Providence Unions Day of Action with “sticker up” campaign.
OCT. 24 – 25, 2019 — Nurses at Sacred Heart vote to authorize a strike.
OCT. 29 – 30, 2019 — Nurses at Kadlec vote to authorize a strike.
NOV. 10, 2019 — Nurses at Sacred Heart and Kadlec write open letters to their communities in their local newspapers (The Spokesman-Review in Spokane and the Tri-City Herald in Kennewick).
NOV. 25, 2019 — The Kadlec bargaining team reaches a tentative agreement with management.
DEC. 9, 2019 — Kadlec nurses vote to ratify their contract.
DEC. 10, 2019 — WSNA, UFCW 21 and SEIU 1199NW made a Unity Commitment to fight for patient safety. The essence of the commitment is, “If you take on one of us, you take on all of us.”
DEC. 18, 2019 — Top officers and member leaders from WSNA, UFCW 21 and SEIU 1199NW meet with Governor Inslee to express their concerns.
JAN. 3, 2020 — After ongoing discussions, three unions (WSNA, UFCW 21 and SEIU 1199NW) representing 13,000 health care workers at Providence hospitals throughout Washington agreed to pause plans to announce a strike during marathon negotiations.
JAN. 7, 2020 — The Sacred Heart bargaining team reaches a tentative agreement with management.
JAN. 8, 2020 — WSNA and UFCW 21 hold a Candlelight Vigil for Patient Safety and a Fair Contract in Spokane.
JAN. 16, 2020 — Sacred Heart nurses vote to ratify their contract.