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Tentative Agreement Reached In Nurses' Contract Dispute

Providence Sacred Heart and its nurses have reached a tentative labor agreement.

The pact includes key provisions sought by nurses, including enhanced language about staffing levels and workplace violence prevention and limits on the employer's ability to raise premiums. It also preserves important health benefits, provides wage increases of 10% over the duration of the three-year contract and a ratification bonus of $2,100, prorated for part-time nurses.

Washington State Nurses' Association spokeswoman Ruth Schubert says an impasse turned into a breakthrough when management agreed last Friday not to change paid time off and extend illness benefits.

“For over a year, Sacred Heart had proposals on the table that would have eliminated earned illness time," Schubert said.  "These were separate banks of sick time that could be used by nurses to care for themselves, their family members, and paid out full wages.”

Providence issued a statement Tuesday that said it is “pleased to announce that we have reached a tentative agreement with Washington State Nurses Association (WSNA). The union will present the tentative agreement for a vote on January 16. We will wait until after the ratification vote to discuss details.”

Meanwhile, the company will continue with a second set of negotiations, with representatives from the United Food and Commercial Workers union today and Wednesday.

Steve was part of the Spokane Public Radio family for many years before he came on air in 1999. His wife, Laurie, produced Radio Ethiopia in the late 1980s through the '90s, and Steve used to “lurk in the shadowy world” of Weekend SPR. Steve has done various on air shifts at the station, including nearly 15 years as the local Morning Edition host. Currently, he is the voice of local weather and news during All Things Considerd, writing, editing, producing and/or delivering newscasts and features for both KPBX and KSFC. Aside from SPR, Steve ,who lives in the country, enjoys gardening, chickens, playing and listening to music, astronomy, photography, sports cars and camping.