Nurses, caregivers announce strike at Swedish hospital

January 19, 2020 GMT

EDMONDS, Wash. (AP) — Nurses and caregivers from Swedish hospital have notified the hospital that they will strike for three days at all of the medical center’s locations in the Seattle region.

The Service Employees International Union delivered the strike notice to hospital officials on Friday, after negotiations stalled. The strike will begin at 7 a.m. Jan. 28 and end at 7:30 a.m. Jan. 31. The union represents about 7,800 registered nurses, technical and service caregivers with Swedish Medical Center in Seattle and Swedish Edmonds.

“We don’t feel like we’re providing the best care that we can to our patients and we need our community to support us in this fight for you and for our families,” said Tricia Jenkins, a nurse at the Cherry Hill campus.

Union negotiators have called for increased staffing, better wages and benefits protections.

Swedish CEO Guy Hudson said that since the union has filed the strike notice, Swedish has pulled its latest offer and won’t bargain until the strike is over, so employees can prepare for the walkout. He said thousands of contract nurses and caregivers from across the country will be flown to Washington state to fill in.

“This is most unfortunate,” Hudson said. “We put forth a great offer on the table that really was the leader in the state for making sure our caregivers were taken care of. I stand behind that offer 100%.”

Swedish officials say hospitals will stay open and emergency room services won’t be affected, but non-urgent procedures may be delayed.