While nurses at Spokane’s Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center are making strike preparations if no agreement can be reached on a new contract, their counterparts at Providence Kadlec Regional Medical Center in the Tri-Cities have reached a tentative contract agreement.
Providence Kadlec management agreed to maintain paid time-off benefits, or PTOs, for currently employed nurses. Providence had proposed slashing the accrual rate for PTO and significantly lowering the cap for accrued hours.
Nurses at Kadlec no longer earn an earned illness bank, as their Spokane counterparts do, and moved to a short-term disability plan in their last contract. Providence threatened to eliminate accrued sick leave hours, but now the tentative agreement preserves them.
Nurses at Sacred Heart, meanwhile, are fighting to retain their earned illness bank.
Nurses' union spokeswoman Anne Tan Piazza says the solidarity shown by Providence workers across the state helped win the agreement in Tri-Cities, and will also influence Providence management at Sacred Heart.
“The collective unity from Kadlec and Sacred Heart nurses, along with 15,000 Providence workers around the state, and their willingness to strike, if necessary, helped force Providence to cave on these major issues at Kadlec, and the agreement at Kadlec will now help at all the open bargaining tables, including Sacred Heart," Tan Piazza said.
Sacred Heart nurses held an unsuccessful mediation session on Friday, November 22, and continue their strike preparations.