Issue 11 - Negotiations Make Progress - Swedish and SEIU Reached Agreement on more than a Dozen Prop

Issue 11 - Negotiations Make Progress - Swedish and SEIU Reached Agreement on more than a Dozen Proposals

On June 28, Swedish and SEIU again met at the bargaining table to respond to a number of proposals focusing on updates to existing language in the contracts. The two parties reached agreements on a number of proposals that updated language and housekeeping in the RN, tech and service contracts. This work will be continued at Thursday’s bargaining session.

Contract Extension Discussed

Swedish and SEIU discussed extending the contract through July 19, which will give both parties more time to work through the bargaining process toward an outcome that is fair for everyone who relies on Swedish – our patients, employees and community.

Looking Ahead

Bargaining will resume on Thursday, June 30. Future bargaining sessions are scheduled for July 7 and 19.


Questions or Comments?

Thank you for the emails and comments we have received. We appreciate hearing from you even if you have a different point of view. Please feel free to submit questions or feedback to corporate.communications@swedish.org or www.swedish.org/negotiationsnews. 

Comments
Concerned Employee
Could you please tell me about the "Seiu pension program" referenced in the 7/1/2011 5:16:33pm
comment? I was under the impression that my pension was through Swedish since that is my employer.
7/2/2011 1:32:17 PM
Swedish Bargaining Team
Anonymous:

Swedish needs to reduce expenses by $200 million over the next three years. Swedish administrators and managers have made a lot of tough decisions – from layoffs and wage freezes to freezing their pensions – to ensure that Swedish can be successful in the future. But we can’t do it alone; we need SEIU’s help to find their fair share of the $200 million we need to save over the next
three years.

We don’t know where this $600 per month figure came from. Those numbers were not in our proposal. Swedish has proposed higher medical premiums for employees, but no specific numbers have been put forth. These amounts are much too high, and not at all accurate.

Swedish has also suggested looking at a tiered premium share structure so that employees earning less would pay less for medical premiums than employees who earn more. Additionally, there are ways to charge different amounts for dependents; for example charging less to cover children than covering a spouse or partner, since children are typically less expensive to insure.
7/1/2011 5:17:56 PM
Swedish Bargaining Team
No-Name:
Freezing the pension for most employees was a very difficult decision for Swedish, but the reality is that pension funding is volatile and unpredictable; and in this “New Normal” environment, it is even more challenging. As we’ve seen in the news recently, pensions are harming companies and governments nationwide.

Two years ago, all non-union employees’ pensions were shifted into a generous 401K retirement program to help preserve Swedish’s financial stability and save full-time jobs. Today, about a quarter of Swedish employees are still in the SEIU pension program now need to pull together and make the hard choice to preserve jobs and ensure that Swedish’s doors stay open in the future. If we care about Swedish’s future, we must make our labor costs more competitive, by narrowing the gap between what we offer and what other hospitals offer. Freezing the SEIU pension program for all employees is the fairest way to do that.

We are in this together. Swedish administrators and managers have already made a lot of tough decisions – from layoffs and wage freezes to freezing their pensions – to ensure that Swedish can be successful in the future. But we can’t do it alone; we need SEIU’s help to find their fair share of the $200 million we need to save over the next three years.

If you have specific questions about your retirement benefits, an HR representative would be happy to review your benefits with you.
7/1/2011 5:16:33 PM
Swedish Bargaining Team
Pam:

You have identified the heart of the issue, times have changed, and the economy and changes in the healthcare industry have and will continue to affect us all. Swedish has not proposed layoffs or wage cuts, but we are asking for SEIU to help shoulder some of the burden in reducing our expenses by $200 million over the next three years. Swedish is committed to being a healthcare leader and continuing to be a leader in employee wages and benefits, but this means Swedish and SEIU must make hard choices now in order to preserve jobs and retirement funding in the future.

We don’t know where the $800 figure (or the $600 figure we’ve seen and heard) came from. Those numbers were not in our proposal. Swedish has suggested higher medical premiums for employees, but no specific numbers have been put forth and these amounts are much too high, and not at all accurate.

We are in this together. Swedish administrators and managers have made a lot of tough decisions – from layoffs and wage freezes to freezing their pensions – to ensure that Swedish can be successful in the future. But we can’t do it alone; we need SEIU’s help to find their fair share of the $200 million we need to save over the next three years.
7/1/2011 5:09:38 PM
Pam Keeley, RN
Swedish currently offers to freeze wages and step increases, eliminate our pension, and let employees pick up a significant part of health insurance costs. This unacceptable combination of lost wage increases and new expenses means we will be losing ground for the next three years. Nothing in the proposed contract offers a way for us to hold onto the status quo, let alone get ahead. What would we have to look forward to? Honest, hard work and an eroding quality of life, year after year.

$800+/month in health insurance costs would put health care out of reach for many Swedish employees and their families. To be the top hospital in the Northwest, but at the expense of its caregivers, is ironic. And immoral.

In addition to the grim economic non-package, Swedish has rejected our careful and modest requests for additional staff. These adjustments reflect our requirements to care for patients with increasingly complex conditions and needs. We are proud of Swedish and want to continue to provide the best and safest possible care for those who trust us in their vulnerable times.

We're in this together - Swedish must do better.
6/30/2011 10:08:24 PM
NO NAME
LETS QUIT MESSING AROUND AND GET OUR EMPLOYEES A GOOD CONTRACT.WE ALL WORK VERY HARD AT SWEDISH AND EXPECT A GOOD CONTRACT.THERE IS NO NEED TO DRAG OUR FEET LETS BE THE BEST IN THE NORTWEST AND STAY NUMBER 1 IN THE SEATTLE AREA.BOTH SIDES NEED TO GET THIS OVER WITH AND LET THE WORKERS KEEP THEIR PENSION PLAN AND GIVE THE RAISES TO THE HARD WORKERS THAT MAKE THE WHEEL GO AROUND.
6/30/2011 2:29:52 PM
no-name
I am not part of the union but my pension was frozen a few years ago. I don't think the Swedish upper management understands the impact this has had on those affected employees. We believed management when given the choice of starting a new 401 or to stay in the pension. Charts were displayed to show the proposed results of these choices and for me it was made clear that continuing in the pension would be the best retirement decision. Swedish management told employees that Swedish had "complete confidence" in pension funding for future retirees. I decided to take Swedish at its word and continue with my pension plan. Now it is frozen at a lower rate than social security payments and those years spent believing Swedish and not contributing to the 401 has cost me thousands of dollars in retirement payments. Swedish has not offered any compensation or retribution for our loss of benefits,-our retirement fund is our problem with little time left to solve.. I would recommend proceeding cautiously and forget about trust.
6/30/2011 4:32:52 AM
anonymous
For the most part, the six and seven digit salaried employees are the non-contract or administrative positions. What kind of sacrifices are these people being asked to make? Obviously a pension is not as important to these individuals since their salaries are so generous. $600 a month for health care?, that's almost, if not, half the pay check for a Service and Maintainence employee, yet just lunch money for the seven digit administrators. Are these six and seven digit folks so out of touch with reality that they actually believe their three options financial package is fair? Get real, descend your ivory towers and mingle with the commoners, you may actually learn something. We, the working folks, are waiting at the table for a fair contract.
6/29/2011 1:26:31 PM
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