A group of unionized employees at Providence St. Peter Hospital who have been working under an expired contract plan to picket from 3 to 5:30 p.m. Wednesday.
The event, billed as “Stand with St. Pete’s Caregivers,” is being organized by Service Employees International Union Healthcare 1199NW. It will be at the hospital campus, near the corner of Lilly Road Northeast and Ensign Road and will include a rally, which begins at 5 p.m.
Hospital spokesman Chris Thomas said it’s important to note that it’s an informational picket, which is different from a strike.
“There should be no impact on hospital operations or patients,” he said.
SEIU represents about 560 clinical and service workers at the hospital, including certified nursing assistants, cooks, housekeepers and caregivers who staff the registration desk, according to the hospital.
“Providence is paying our hospital CEO $1 million per year, but paying us less than a living wage,” states a Facebook web page about the event. “It's time to take a stand. … We are standing together to make sure we have a hospital and a union contract that guarantees affordable health insurance for our families, provides staffing incentives and raises so we can recruit and retain quality staff, and protects quality patient care.”
The two groups have held nine bargaining sessions since July, Thomas said.
Providence began the bargaining with no proposed takeaways from the prior contract, and the hospital’s latest offer would give most caregivers covered by the contract 3 to 3.5 percent pay increases each year over the four-year period, he said.
“We have a solid offer on the table and are committed to investing in staffing both through our recruiting efforts and through our competitive wages and benefits package,” said Dana Vandewege, director of Human Resources for Providence Southwest Washington Region.
“While we respect the union’s right to demonstrate publicly, these issues need to be worked out at the bargaining table, not on the streets,” Vandewege said.