SEIU Healthcare 1199NW union workers hold a safety strike Aug. 11 after a violent patient left 11 employees injured Photo by Cameron Sheppard/Sound Publishing
SEIU Healthcare 1199NW union workers hold a safety strike Aug. 11 after a violent patient left 11 employees injured Photo by Cameron Sheppard/Sound Publishing

SEIU Healthcare 1199NW union workers hold a safety strike Aug. 11 after a violent patient left 11 employees injured Photo by Cameron Sheppard/Sound Publishing SEIU Healthcare 1199NW union workers hold a safety strike Aug. 11 after a violent patient left 11 employees injured Photo by Cameron Sheppard/Sound Publishing

Cascade Behavioral Health workers strike after incident involving violent patient

Multiple employees are believed to have been injured and some even hostpitalized following incident.

Updated at 9:20 am, August 13, 2021

On Aug. 1, workers at Cascade Behavioral Health in Tukwila went on strike after a dangerous incident involving a patient.

A Facebook post from the SEIU Healthcare 1199NW union stated that the workers organized a “safety strike” after an “incident of workplace violence hospitalized one worker and injured others, and threatened the safety of numerous patients.”

Registered nurse Kim Rowe said this particular incident occurred on Aug. 1, when an unruly patient stole a security badge and gained access to offices, which they proceeded to vandalize. Eventually, 15 staff members were recruited to try and detain the patient. When they attempted to apprehend the patient, 11 staff members of the 15 were injured, four of which were sent to the emergency room with severe injuries.

Rowe said one staff member was injured so badly, they had to be taken to the hospital in a stretcher and put on oxygen.

“We can’t even rehabilitate a man like that,” Rowe said of the violent patient.

She said Cascade Behavioral Health has gone downhill in the last year and a half since the hospital became a majority involuntary facility. She said the hospital takes a high volume of patients that have been convicted of violent crimes with no security staff or cameras.

She estimated that there are nine patients to every one staff member.

Mental health practitioner Brando Villareal has worked at Cascade Behavioral Health hospital for about a decade. He says violent encounters with patients is not uncommon at the facility. He said his colleagues have suffered broken bones, noses and black eyes as a result of there altercations.

Villareal said staff has had to use mattresses to pin patients armed with weapons into a corner where they cannot hurt anyone. He has witnessed involuntary patients punching other patients just to get charged and sent out of the facility.

“They often become worse before they get better,” he said.

Villareal said the involuntary behavioral health hospital has no security staff or screening, and when police are called during violent situations, staff are told that the matter is “internal.”

Workers in the union are demanding security staff and safety measures such as repairing a broken door that no longer can be locked. An employee said the door was repaired in a makeshift way using plywood and requiring a staff member to watch over the unlockable door.

A spokesperson from Cascade Behavioral Health said the coordination of the strike by their workers is making it difficult for the clinic to provide behavioral healthcare services.

“The safety and well-being of our patients and staff are always our top priorities. It is unfortunate that we must limit access to treatment when the need for mental health services is as critical as ever in the communities we serve,” Cascade said via written statement. “We look forward to arriving at a fair resolution with our nurses and their union and resuming normal operations.”

A Facebook post from the union states the workers “plan to withhold [their] labor until [their] demands for security and a safe workplace free from violence are met.”


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@covingtonreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.covingtonreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in News

file photo
Housing and finance insiders call for subsidized housing families can own, instead of rent

Advocates say increasing homeownership will strengthen the community, build intergenerational wealth

Map of proposed landfill expansion sites (screenshot from King County website)
Waste management expert knocks county’s plan to expand landfill

The waste management advocate said the decision to expand seems pre-determined despite assessment.

This image was shared by the King County Sheriff’s Office in announcing they had identified the driver in the fatal hit-and-run of a Maple Valley man. COURTESY PHOTO, King County Sheriff’s Office
King County Sheriff’s Office released this photo of the Toyota Camry that reportedly hit and killed a Maple Valley man in July. COURTESY PHOTO, King County Sheriff’s Office
SeaTac girl, 15, charged with second-degree murder in jogger’s death

Reportedly used her vehicle to ‘scare him’ while driving in Maple Valley

Pixabay photo
Union carpenters to go on strike, expected to impact Eastside Microsoft projects

Members authorized strike after rejecting AGC offer for the fourth time.

file photo
The state’s hospitals face “unprecedented collapse” amid COVID uptick warn healthcare unions

Union spokeperson says understaffing was a problem even before the pandemic.

File photo
Washington Association of Sheriffs & Police Chiefs condemns recent police ambushes

Two officer targeted shooting were reported last week in South King County.

Gov. Jay Inslee talks about schools reopening during a past news conference. (Screenshot courtesy of TVW)
Masks required at big outdoor events; vaccine mandates expanded

Governor’s mask order takes effect Sept. 13.

Courtesy Photo, Lumen Field
King County to require masks at large outdoor gatherings of 500 or more

New health officer order to control the spread of COVID-19

Most Read