Nurse Katy Roth and her husband, Rod, a union member with Labor Local 292, walk with other nurses on a picket line at Providence Regional Medical Center Everett on Wednesday. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Nurse Katy Roth and her husband, Rod, a union member with Labor Local 292, walk with other nurses on a picket line at Providence Regional Medical Center Everett on Wednesday. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Everett nurses say staffing so bad, no time for the bathroom

Health-care provider contracts have expired, or will soon. They took to the picket line on Wednesday.

EVERETT — In yards and along roadsides, hundreds of yellow and blue signs have flooded Snohomish County, urging support of nurses at Providence Regional Medical Center Everett.

After nearly eight months of contract negotiations, the hospital and 1,600 registered nurses still are not seeing eye to eye.

The nurses’ contract expired in October. Since then the nurses have been working under an extension of the previous agreement, according to the union. Representatives from United Food and Commercial Workers Local 21 say the major sticking point is the need for more staffing.

“It’s been an issue for years,” said James Crowe, negotiations director for the union.

Nurses took further action Wednesday by holding lunchtime pickets at Providence’s Colby and Pacific campuses. At the Colby location, about 150 hospital workers and supporters held signs as they marched along 13th Street, chanting at times: “Hey Providence listen up, your workers are standing up.”

UFCW organizer Graciela Nune affixes cards addressed to various administrators on a board as nurses with UFCW 21 and their supporters picket at Providence Regional Medical Center Everett on Wednesday. The boards, with notes pleading for a contract settlement, are to be presented to the administrators tomorrow. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

UFCW organizer Graciela Nune affixes cards addressed to various administrators on a board as nurses with UFCW 21 and their supporters picket at Providence Regional Medical Center Everett on Wednesday. The boards, with notes pleading for a contract settlement, are to be presented to the administrators tomorrow. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

“While informational picketing has no impact on patient care, we are disappointed that the union has chosen this option, and we would prefer to get back to the bargaining table,” hospital spokeswoman Lisa Daly wrote in an email. “Providence Regional Medical Center Everett continues to remain committed to negotiating in good faith.”

The nurses were joined Wednesday by professional and technical staff, who also are bargaining new contracts. The contract for technical staff expires in June, and the professional staff contract ended in March. Staffing levels are an issue for these workers as well, Crowe said.

Workers inside the hospital could be seen waving and cheering on the demonstrators. The picketers also wrote postcard messages to management.

Suzanne Woodard, a labor and delivery nurse who was picketing, said staffing levels are at a bare minimum, which means many nurses weren’t getting breaks or chances to use the restroom.

Nurses often work 12-hour shifts, she said, “I challenge anyone to be on your feet for 12 hours and not sit down.”

A supporter waves from a window as nurses with UFCW 21 and their supporters picket outside Providence Regional Medical Center Everett on Wednesday. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

A supporter waves from a window as nurses with UFCW 21 and their supporters picket outside Providence Regional Medical Center Everett on Wednesday. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Woodard, who is part of the negotiating team, said the nurses were concerned about patient safety.

“We work in the trenches,” she said. “We know what are appropriate staffing levels or not.”

The hospital declined to comment about staffing levels.

Since September, the union and hospital representatives have met more than a dozen times. And as of January, a federal mediator has been assisting the negotiations, Daly said. The two groups are scheduled to talk again Monday.

“While we are pleased we’ve made progress in some areas, we still have additional items to discuss … keeping in mind our shared goal of continuing to provide high-quality, compassionate care to our patients and community,” she said.

Nurse Amber Palermo, a member UFCW 21, takes video of picketers and their supporters outside at Providence Regional Medical Center Everett on Wednesday. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Nurse Amber Palermo, a member UFCW 21, takes video of picketers and their supporters outside at Providence Regional Medical Center Everett on Wednesday. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Woodard said she was hopeful the two groups can work out a deal.

“We hope to avoid a strike,” Woodard said, “but we are prepared to do so if that’s what it takes.”

Providence is the second largest employer in the county. In 2017, Providence had more than 31,000 inpatient admissions and handled nearly 90,000 emergency room visits, making it one of the busiest emergency rooms in the state.

_______

This story was first published in the Everett Herald. Lizz Giordano: 425-374-4165; egiordano@heraldnet.co. Twitter: @lizzgior.


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 Northwest

King County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterburg (File Photo)
King County Prosecuting Attorney vows to protect reproductive freedom

Dan Satterberg joins over 80 prosecutors from around the country in their pledge.

Fedor Osipov, 15, flips into Steel Lake in Federal Way during last year's heatwave on June 28, 2021. Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing
Heatwave expected to hit King County

Temperatures will likely reach 90 degrees Fahrenheit on Sunday, June 26, and Monday, June 27.

Judged by XII: A King County Local Dive podcast. The hands shown here belong to Auburn Police Officer Jeffrey Nelson, who has been charged with homicide in the 2019 death of Jesse Sarey.
JUDGED BY XII: Examining Auburn police officer’s grim tattoos

Episode 5 in special podcast series that explores Jeffrey Nelson’s role in the death of Jesse Sarey.

t
Sound Transit Board approves Julie Timm as new CEO at $375,000 per year

She replaces Peter Rogoff who left in May after board voted to replace him

t
Statewide task force to tackle organized retail crime rings

Group brings law enforcement, prosecutors, retailers together to combat growing problem

Photo courtesy of King County.
Officials urge caution when swimming this summer

Cold spring temperatures and larger than normal snowpack have created dangerous conditions

A semiautomatic handgun with a safety cable lock that prevents loading ammunition. (Sound Publishing file photo)
Large-capacity ammo magazine sales ban starts soon in Washington

Starting July 1, a 10-round capacity becomes the limit for sales. Meanwhile, “there is a rush on magazine purchasing.”

t
Oak Harbor man arrested on $1 million bail for alleged hate crime

Yelled threat at Whidbey Island woman; reportedly posted online comments about killing gay people

At Dash Point on June 16, 2022. Henry Stewart-Wood/Sound Publishing
All that the tides reveal: Puget Sound’s hidden intertidal world

Exploring King County beaches during the lowest tide in the last 13 years.

Tsr
No more stolen sisters: How WA is responding to missing and murdered Indigenous people

Across the state, 126 Indigenous people remain missing, with 31 having gone missing in King County.

Judged by XII: A King County Local Dive podcast. The hands shown here belong to Auburn Police Officer Jeffrey Nelson, who has been charged with homicide in the 2019 death of Jesse Sarey.
JUDGED BY XII (Episode 3): Behind the decision to charge a police officer with murder | King County Local Dive

Special podcast series explores Auburn Police Officer Jeffrey Nelson’s role in the death of Jesse Sarey.

Photo courtesy of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
Washington wolf population continues to rise, report shows

In 2021, four new wolf packs were documented in four different counties.