Swedish Offers Updated Post-Strike Package, Proposes Facilitated Staffing Conversations
February 10, 2020
Swedish returned to the bargaining table yesterday with SEIU 1199NW, which represents many of our nurses and service, technical and professional staff. The bargaining session was held under the auspices of federal mediators who have been engaged, with SEIU’s agreement, to help further our progress in contract negotiations. The mediators recommended yesterday that the two sides exchange new counterproposals through the mediators rather than meet face-to-face, since emotions are still high following the strike. We agreed to their recommendation.
Through the mediators, we put forward a new package that retains nearly all major elements of our January 15 package, including market-leading wages and benefits and our previous staffing proposals, which include a commitment to add approximately 200 new FTEs. We also added a provision to bring in a third-party expert to facilitate a series of focused conversations with SEIU on staffing, which we know is a primary concern for our caregivers. We hope SEIU will accept our proposal to hold these conversations next week.
We are disappointed that SEIU’s counterproposal still includes economic expectations that are unreasonable and unworkable, including a total wage increase of 22.75% over four years, which is only slightly lower than the 23.25% they previously proposed. We have offered wage increases totaling 11.25% over four years, which would keep Swedish at the top of the market while also meeting our responsibility to be good stewards of our resources, ensuring that Swedish is positioned to keep providing quality care to the communities we serve for years to come.
We remain committed to bargaining in good faith with SEIU to reach an agreement that reflects our sincere efforts to address staffing concerns and provide our caregivers with wages and benefits that ensure Swedish remains a leader among health care employers in this market.