Spokane Nurses Whistle-blow At Stalled Contracts

By Paige Browning

It was a noisy afternoon outside Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane.  More than 150 nurses waved signs and blew whistles to send a message to the Providence-owned medical center.
 
The nurses fear they’ll face larger health care costs in their upcoming contracts. Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center sits at the table with the Washington State Nurses Association in negotiating the contracts, which expired in December.
 
Sacred Heart nurses picketed from 2:00 to 7:00 p.m. on the corner of McClellan and 8th Avenue. Photo by Paige BrowningCo-chair of the nurses negotiating team is Marty Avey.
 
“They want to give us a high deductible, and us pay the premiums, so it’s a big cut into our paychecks already, without much of a raise,” Avey said.
 
She says the deductible for a family would start around $6,300.  Avey says these costs could mean a sick nurse would go to work instead of seeking care. 
 
Providence issued a statement acknowledging that some topics have stalled the negotiating process. When asked about a contract timeline, Providence’s director of public relations, Joseph Robb, said they are in negotiations right now.
 
Sacred Heart nurses picketed from 2:00 to 7:00 p.m. on the corner of McClellan and 8th Avenue. Photo by Paige Browning

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