Swedish Nurses, Caregivers Overwhelmingly Vote “No Confidence” in Swedish/Providence Administration

Caregivers speak out about problems with low staffing, racism, poor equipment, and more

SEATTLE- The union of nurses and caregivers at all Swedish-Providence campuses voted 98% “No Confidence” in Swedish and Providence administration following dozens of complaints about poor staffing, broken supplies, and management racism.  The nurses and caregivers announced their vote tonight at a speak out event where a dozen caregivers from Swedish campuses shared examples of what they face at the bedside.

“We, the frontline caregivers, have tried to partner with management, and we’ve tried to make management listen to these critical problems, but they have refused to act,” said Delores Prescott, a nurse at Swedish First Hill.  “We are sounding the alarm—quality patient care is on the line.”

Speakers highlighted problems ranging from Swedish understaffing to having broken suction machines to racist comments from managers that went unaddressed.  The caregivers have raised these problems at the bargaining table, in labor-management and staffing committee meetings, and through direct actions, yet Swedish-Providence has not acted.

“In my unit, we have faced instances where we are without basic supplies and fully functioning equipment that me and my coworkers need to treat patients and care for them,” said Douglas Davis, a tech at Swedish Edmonds.  “One incident that occurred late this summer, my coworker was attempting to treat a patient who was vomiting blood.  Both of the suction machines we would normally use to help a patient in this state were either not working or malfunctioning.  In emergency situations, time is critical and it was only through the resourcefulness of the staff that we were able to avert any further crisis. However, we often don’t have enough staff to handle emergencies like this when they come up.”

A panel of community leaders including Rep. Eileen Cody, Seattle City Council Member Teresa Mosqueda, and Executive Director of the Church Council of Greater Seattle Michael Ramos heard the comments and responded with a call to action.

“It is unacceptable that Providence is taking the low road, putting profits ahead of patient care at Swedish,” said Robin Wyss, Secretary-Treasurer of SEIU Healthcare 1199NW.  “We will not stand by while our patient care is at risk.”


Providence-Swedish and the Sabey Major Institution Master Plan Update

The process for reviewing and approving the Major Institution Master Plan for Providence-Swedish and the Sabey Corporation continues.

The hearing was held over five days in July and on September 10 the Hearing Examiner issues her recommendation to the City Council which will make the final decision.  The Squire Park Community Council, Washington Community Action Network (Washington CAN), 19th Avenue Neighbors, Concerned Neighbors of Swedish Cherry Hill, and the Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) for the MIMP presented evidence and argument that the plan proposed by the institution and Sabey should be scaled back.

With only minor exceptions the Hearing Examiner rejected those arguments, instead endorsing the position of the Department of Planning and Development (DPD) that the plan proposed by Providence-Swedish and Sabey should be approved.

Hearing participants, including the Squire Park Community Council, Washington CAN will be appealing the Hearing Examiner’s decision.  (At the time of this writing the deadline for filing appeals has not passed.  Others may file appeals as well.)

The City Council consideration of the issue is what is known as “quasi-judicial”.  That means that Council members are expected to base their decisions on the evidence that is in the record that was made during the CAC meetings and the Hearing Examiners Hearing.  Lobbying or other advocacy, except for presentations which the City Council may allow at Council meetings is forbidden.

The City Council Planning, Land Use, and Sustainability Committee will consider and discuss the record at a meeting in the coming months, at a date not yet determined.



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