Swedish and the union representing 7,800 registered nurses, service, technical and professional caregivers have worked with Gov. Jay Inslee to restart labor negotiations with outside mediators, the governor’s office announced today.
“I thank the leaders on both sides who have embraced the need to hit reset on negotiations,” Inslee said. “We have strong commitments to use this opportunity to settle a set of new contracts.”
Leaders of Service Employees International Union Healthcare 1199NW, Swedish leaders and representatives from the governor’s office will meet separately this week with mediators Thomas Kochan, a professor of industrial relations, work and employment at MIT Sloan School of Management, and federal mediator Beth Schindler, Western Regional Director of Field Operations for Federal Mediation and Conciliation Services, a federal government agency. Mediators and members of the governor’s staff will also meet with leaders from Swedish affiliate Providence St. Joseph’s Health.
Negotiations will begin next week and be led by Kochan in partnership with Schindler, who has been working with Swedish and SEIU Healthcare 1199NW.
Inslee said it is clear that all who are involved are looking for more, though, than just a new contract. "The union and Swedish are clearly committed to establishing a more collaborative relationship for the future. The demands of health care today require a real partnership for the workers, Swedish and most importantly, its patients.”
“We are appreciative that the governor has convened the parties. As the healthcare delivery system in our state faces increasing challenges, a true labor-management partnership would ensure that we can achieve staff recruitment and retention, patient satisfaction, workforce training and quality services our patients can count on,” commented Diane Sosne RN, MN President of SEIU Healthcare 1199NW.
“We thank Governor Inslee for his leadership and look forward to being at the table to reach resolution. Swedish has a long legacy of delivering quality health care in our community and our caregivers are our most valued asset. Working together, we will continue to provide the highest quality of care that our patients expect and deserve,” said Guy Hudson, MD, CEO of Swedish.
The agreement to retain Kochan came after multiple conversations and meetings between the governor and his staff and representatives of the union and Swedish.
The negotiations will begin March 5 in SeaTac and the governor told both sides he would like them to complete negotiations within four days.
“Our health system supports Governor Inslee’s approach and we are ready to assist as Swedish reengages with SEIU,” said Rod Hochman, MD, CEO of Providence St. Joseph Health.
“Given the willingness of both sides to work with the mediators there is no reason why we can’t have a new agreement after four days of intensive negotiations,” Inslee said.