Washington state healthcare workers postpone strike

January 4, 2020 GMT

SEATTLE (AP) — Thousands of healthcare workers in Washington state have postponed a strike with plans to head back to the negotiating table with their employers.

Swedish Medical Center and Providence hospital employees initially planned to go on strike Jan. 14 over employee wages, understaffing and patient safety.

Nurse and health care workers union SEIU Healthcare 1199NW is expected to bargain with the two employers through Friday, union officials said.

Swedish representatives hope they can reach an agreement with the union, management said.

There are 900 open health care worker positions at Swedish health facilities, employees said.

There is a national nursing shortage and Swedish representatives are committed to working with the union on ways to help attract and maintain staff members, management said.

A strike is still possible if a deal is not reached by Jan. 10, but union staff must provide a 10-day notice before striking, employees said.

Another union also postponed strike notices after making similar progress, officials said.