Press Release

Nurses at PeaceHealth Southwest in Vancouver to picket April 18

The 1,465 nurses are represented by the Washington State Nurses Association

Swwmc group 2

(TUKWILA- April 15, 2024) After 13 bargaining sessions toward a new contract, PeaceHealth Southwest nurses in Vancouver, Wash., are holding an informational picket April 18 over several issues where hospital management has yet to reach agreement with the nurses’ union (staffing, wages, sick time, parity for home health and hospice nurses, workplace violence). The 1,465 nurses at PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center are represented by Washington State Nurses Association (WSNA).

Where and when:  
6 a.m.-9 a.m. and 4 p.m.-7 p.m. Thursday, April 18 outside the hospital
400 N.E. Mother Joseph Place, Vancouver, WA.


  • Safe Staffing – PeaceHealth Southwest nurses often work without breaks and are assigned too many patients. Nurses are fighting for measures that would make safe staffing plans enforceable so that PeaceHealth Southwest nurses don’t have to work short staffed on a regular basis. Since Jan. 1, 2024, nurses have filed more than 74 internal complaints, most about staffing. Meanwhile, starting in June, hospitals in Oregon must comply with statutory minimum nurse-to-patient ratios, which set a maximum number of patients each nurse may be assigned in each patient care unit. Vancouver-area hospitals like PeaceHealth Southwest risk losing nurses to nearby hospitals in Oregon without any changes.
  • Competitive wages - PeaceHealth Southwest nurses have the lowest wages among hospitals in the area, and the hospital is losing nurses to higher paying positions over the river in Portland and elsewhere in Vancouver.
  • Sick time - PeaceHealth management has proposed taking away nurses’ extended sick time banks, which allow nurses to use six shifts’ worth of paid sick time each year during longer absences like COVID isolation periods or after childbirth without draining their general PTO banks. This will force nurses to give up vacation time if they must stay home sick.
  • Home Health and Hospice nurses - Hospital administration wants to pay home health and hospice nurses less than hospital-based nurses, effectively downgrading these specialized and highly skilled nurses. It is standard in the industry for parity for home health and hospice nurses to have equal pay.
  • Workplace violence prevention – Administration has refused to commit to prioritizing low-cost or no-cost workplace violence prevention initiatives, such as establishing screening protocols to ensure weapons do not enter the hospital, access rules that prevent unauthorized entry into patient care areas, pathways for nurses to formally identify complex or disruptive patients, and policies to protect home health and hospice nurses when they enter patients’ homes.

PeaceHealth is a nonprofit Catholic health system based in Vancouver offering care through ten hospitals and several clinics in Washington, Oregon, and Alaska. Facilities in the PeaceHealth system have frequently been sites of labor unrest and the system itself is rated “below average” on the job-finding site Indeed in terms of employee well-being.

See an earlier release for more information on nurse complaints and history of labor unrest at PeaceHealth.