Yesterday, Swedish and SEIU 1199NW kicked-off contract negotiations that will focus on wages, benefits and other issues for RN’s, technical staff and service workers at the Teamsters’ headquarters in Tukwila. SEIU and Swedish’s bargaining teams conducted introductions and then Diane Sosne gave a presentation that identified common goals and challenges highlighting the potential for collaboration and made the remark that “if we have been successful before we can do it again.”
In its opening presentation, SEIU 1199NW pointed to a number of external factors impacting their members, including the economy, healthcare reform and an aging workforce. Many of these same issues also impact Swedish; thereby creating an overlap in some of our respective interests.
The opening presentation called out many of the areas where Swedish and SEIU have worked together to achieve success, including:
- Organizing a labor management assessment and summit with labor relations expert, Larry Fox who helped Swedish and SEIU recognize that they have many of the same goals
- Creating a combined (All Bargaining Committees) labor relations committee
- Developing a nationally recognized training program
- Collaborating on employee wellness initiatives
- Identifying other collaboration opportunities related to healthcare policy
Swedish appreciates the spirit of collaboration displayed at this opening session and will continue to work to find common ground to create a fair and balanced outcome for all who rely on Swedish – our patients, employees and community.
SEIU 1199NW requested additional time before presenting their proposal, so the timeline has been adjusted slightly. SEIU 1199NW will now present their proposal on Thursday, May 5 and Swedish will present its proposal at the next full bargaining session, on Tuesday, May 17. In addition to the regular bargaining sessions, there are a few subcommittee meetings scheduled over the next few weeks. The Labor Management Benefits Committee and the Labor Management Restructure Oversight Committee (LMROC) will meet on May 11, and a special Nursing sub-Committee is tentatively scheduled to meet on May 19.