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Nurses, health workers at King, Snonomish County hospitals postpone strike

Swedish Medical Center in Seattle. (KIRO 7)

After initially setting a Jan. 14 date to strike, nurses and health care workers at Swedish-Providence in Seattle have opted to postpone any such action, following overnight negotiations with the hospital.

Workers with SEIU Healthcare 1199NW will hold a press conference Friday about postponing their strike timelines while expecting a return to the bargaining table for further negotiating sessions.

UFCW 21 and the Washington State Nurses Association made similar progress in overnight talks and have paused their strike notices as well.

SEIU Healthcare 1199NW said Providence Health Services has withdrawn proposals that would reduce paid time off and medical benefits and allow subcontracting.

According to a release, caregivers at Providence facilities across the state said contract proposals that have been put forth by Providence still don’t address workers’ serious patient care concerns and fixes to ongoing “unfair labor practices.”

Last month, their union told us 13,000 worker at 13 Swedish locations were ready to participate in a strike. That would have included seven hospitals and care centers in King and Snohomish Counties.

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“After months, or in some cases years, of negotiations, caregivers at Providence facilities across Washington state say contract proposals put forth by Providence still do not address workers’ serious patient care concerns or fix ongoing unfair labor practices,” a recent press release said.

Representatives for nurses and caregivers have said severe under-staffing and patient care problems have worsened since Swedish was taken over by Providence Health.

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The health workers had announced a possible strike if last month’s contract negotiations failed to move forward in a meaningful way.

KIRO 7 staff contributed to this report

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