In solidarity with health care workers at Swedish Hospitals throughout both King and Snohomish County, PROTEC17 staff joined several of the picket lines during their three-day strike from January 28-30.
Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Healthcare 1199NW – the union representing 8,000 nurses, technicians, social workers, environmental services personnel and others at Swedish Hospitals – were striking to address patient safety and staffing levels in their contract, which has been under negotiations since the fall. With over 900 unfilled positions across all Swedish Hospitals, already overworked employees have had to take on extra shifts and other responsibilities, and worry about the impacts to their patients.
On Jan. 29, over 1,000 strikers and their supporters marched through downtown Seattle and rallied at Westlake Center to deliver a message to Swedish management to put patients before profits. The rally and strike gained national media attention.
PROTEC17 showed support and solidarity by contributing $1,000 to the strike fund, which helps striking workers make ends meet. Staff also walked alongside our fellow union members in the strike lines at the First Hill, Cherry Hill, and Ballard campuses, as well as in the big rally in downtown Seattle.
The Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) strike was authorized by a supermajority of SEIU1199NW members on every Swedish campus. Picketing was set to conclude at 7:30 a.m. on Jan. 31 when the strikers would return to work; however, Swedish management had hired scabs (at a cost of $11 million dollars) and locked out many of the striking workers. SEIU1199NW continues to push management to do the right thing and address the safe staffing levels.