EVERETT, Wash. — Nurses at Snohomish County’s main hospital are now on strike.
More than 1,300 nurses at Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett will be on the picket line for the next five days.
We spoke with the hospital’s CEO on Monday about how the hospital plans to keep up with patient care.
“We have replacement nurses but we also have volunteers, both clinical and non-clinical volunteers, that will be here at the hospital the rest of the week,” said Providence CEO Kristy Carrington.
She said negotiations would not be happening during the strike, but Providence emergency room nurse Kelli Johnson – who’s on the negotiating team – said that wasn’t necessarily the case.
“We are open to going back to the bargaining table at any point. We do not need to wait for the strike to be over for that to happen,” said Johnson.
Pay is an issue but decreased staffing, long wait times for patients, and safety are also major concerns.
We spoke with two nurses who said staffing was a huge issue.
“It’s definitely unsafe for patients,” said Trevor Djendem, an RN in orthopedics at Providence.
“This is absolutely about the staffing,” said James Harrigan, an RN in IV therapy. “We want to give good care and we feel like we can’t do that.”
Nurses say they’re taking a stand on these issues, and they are not alone.
KIRO 7 Reporter Ranji Sinha has covered at least one other strike by nurses in which they said staffing and safety were the key sticking points when it came to working conditions.
“The proposal that we put on the table was a 21.5% increase over the life of the contract, an average nurse under that agreement would see about 13% of that right after ratification,” said Carrington.
She also said a more flexible schedule and shift options were something they tried to negotiate.
The strike will last until 6 a.m. Sunday.
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