Swedish Announces New Four-Year Contracts with SEIU 1199NW

October 13, 2015

New contracts reflect Swedish’s continued commitment to providing a great workplace for caregivers

Swedish announced today that it has reached contract agreements with SEIU Healthcare 1199NW, the union that represents approximately 6,800 R.N.s, technicians and service workers at Swedish Medical Center and Swedish Edmonds. The new contracts include competitive wages and benefits designed to retain current caregivers while also attracting new ones to the organization. SEIU members approved the contracts in a vote that concluded last night.

“I believe that, together, we have developed very solid contracts that are beneficial for our caregivers, our organization and our community,” said June Altaras, Swedish Acute Care Chief Executive. “The bargaining process required a lot of hard work and long hours, as well as listening, understanding and creativity. This is a great example of Swedish at its best. We have created a very bright future together and I am grateful to all involved.”

“In all that we do, we are focused on inspiring and developing our caregivers. Our contract reflects our commitment to offering market competitive wages and innovative benefits offerings that add to making Swedish a best place to work,” said Naren Balasubramaniam, Chief Human Resources Officer for Swedish Health Services. “Through this negotiation process, we hope that we have reaffirmed with our caregivers and SEIU that we are committed to developing a positive, respectful working relationship that is both collaborative as well as productive."

One area of focus for both Swedish and SEIU 1199NW representatives during the negotiations was affordable health care for Swedish’s own caregivers. As part of the new contracts, Swedish Health Services will provide a medical plan assistance program that offers free or discounted medical premiums for eligible caregivers. It is based on household income and family size. For example, medical premiums would be:

  • Free for the new Swedish Group Health HMO Medical Plan for a family of four with an annual household income of $60,625 per year or less, OR
  • Discounted by 50 percent for a family of four with an annual household income of $97,000 or less, regardless of which of the three medical plan options is elected

Other highlights of the new contracts include:

  • Across-the-board wage increases of more than 12 percent over four years
  • Introduction of choice for medical insurance plans including PPO, Group Health HMO and Health Savings Account (HSA) plans
  • Lower premium costs for part-time caregivers (those working 20 to 30 hours per week) covering family members on their medical plans
  • Improvements in basic life and long-term disability insurance programs
  • Agreement on new processes for discussing and escalating staffing concerns

"Addressing staffing needs and preparing for the 2020 nursing shortage has been a top priority for Swedish in these negotiations,” continued Altaras. “That is why we wanted wages and benefits that would help us keep the great talent we already have while also supporting our recruitment efforts. We are very pleased that these contracts will help us achieve those goals.”