BELLINGHAM- Hundreds of healthcare workers are walking off the job, demanding better benefits and increased staffing.
Lab techs, nursing assistants, along with other hospital service and technical workers protested outside of PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center Wednesday morning. The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) 1199NW organized the 25-hour strike.
The one-day strike calls attention to the ongoing contract negotiations between the hospital and the workers. Union leaders say they’ve been working on the new contract since the caregivers voted to form the union in September 2013.
On the hospital website, there was a statement to patients about the strike and protest:
“Our collective focus on the day of the strike—as it is everyday— is providing you with safe, quality patient care. We apologize for any inconvenience this activity may cause you.”
Please note that patients with scheduled procedures at the hospital on the day of the strike should assume that the procedures will go forward as planned. Should there be any changes, patients will be notified by hospital or physician office staff.”
The protest is expected to end Thursday morning.
Union organizers say nearly 100 other caregivers including nurses, healthcare workers , dietary, housekeeping, and more will strike at Cascade Behavioral Health in Tukwila on Thursday.