Swedish Richmond Beach Primary Care Clinic remains open for business during labor union strike this week

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Swedish Primary Care in Shoreline
Photo courtesy Swedish

By Jamie Holter

The labor union (SEIU 1199NW) that represents 7,800 registered nurses, technical and service caregivers employed by Swedish Medical Center and Swedish Edmonds, has called a three-day strike that began Tuesday, Jan. 28 at 7:00am and ends Friday, Jan. 31 at 7:30am.

Swedish Medical Center and Swedish Edmonds’ Emergency Room will be open for business. Swedish plans to bring in workers from other locations to keep basic services up and running. Most elective surgeries have been rescheduled.

Emergency Services and Urgent Care at Swedish Clinics in Ballard and Redmond are affected. They closed Monday night at 7:00pm. The Richmond Beach Primary Care Clinic will operate as usual. Richmond Beach Clinic patients are expected to see no impact to their care, though patients from Ballard may come north. The Richmond Beach Clinic operates under a different union.

Swedish Hospital Group and SEIU 1199NW have been in negotiations for more than nine months and have made some progress but are still far apart.

Swedish is offering:

  • An across-the-board 11.25% wage increase over the four-year contract, including an immediate 3% increase that is retroactive to July 1, 2019, which puts Swedish at the top of the market
  • Wage increases that would lift the average salary of a Swedish caregiver working full-time to more than $70,000, and the average Swedish nurse salary into six figures by July 2020
  • A zero-premium PPO medical plan for full-time caregivers, and their covered family members, who make up to $60,000 in income from Swedish (saving eligible caregivers an average of $1,100 per year)
  • No premium or deductible increases for the Swedish PPO medical plan over the life of the contract
  • A new child and elder care benefit to support employees who need back-up care for a sick child or family member
  • A continuation of Swedish’s vacation and sick leave program in response to the union’s feedback
  • A commitment to address our staffing challenges, by giving caregivers a stronger voice in staffing decisions, recruitment efforts and creating a more inclusive and equitable workplace

SEIU is asking for more control over staffing, recruitment, and retention, among other issues. The union wants more attention paid to the “needs of environmental service workers, social workers, counselors and caregivers who provide standby and call services.”


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