Providence Everett Nurses Win Landmark Union Contract

February 26, 2024

Everett Economy, Everett Jobs

On February 21st, nurses at Providence Regional Medical Center Everett overwhelmingly ratified a new contract with their employer, making strides in their goal of improving patient safety, plus improving nurse staffing, retention, recruitment as a result of their 5-day winter strike.


Providence nurses on strike in November 2023.

When we went out on strike in November, we were united in identifying better staffing as the top issue at the bargaining table,” said Stephanie Sausman, nurse and bargaining team member.

“Providence wasn’t ready to listen until we walked out the door, and even after that it took time to get powerful enough staffing language that nurses were willing to agree to a contract. This is a contract we’re really proud of.”

Highlights of this new contract include both long-overdue pay increases as well as groundbreaking new language on staffing, all designed to address the critical issue of short-staffing that nurses identified as their top issue when they walked out on a 5-day unfair labor practice strike in November.

In December, Nurses voted against a tentative agreement, but voted not to avoid another strike.

“Even management was admitting they were paying us under market,” said Julie Bynum, nurse and bargaining team member. “Our team was careful to look at other health care workplaces in the region and make thoughtful proposals to ensure we retain our longtime nurses as well as attract new talent  We want our patients to feel more secure about having enough people on the floor to care for them, on every shift and in every department.”

providence nursesWhile Providence management initially refused to consider many of the nurse bargaining committee’s proposals around staffing, the final ratified contract includes creative and effective language to address, correct, and compensate for understaffing, including:

  • Commitment from Providence to staff the hospital according to the staffing plans they submit to the Dept. of Health
  • Yearlong collaborative process between Providence and nurses to reach mutually agreed-upon goals for retention and recruitment
  • Monthly bonuses paid out by the hospital to those working in understaffed departments
    Agreement to resolve chronic staffing issues through binding mediation
  • Premium pay for those caring for boarded patients in the ER (these are patients that overflow from other areas of the hospital into the already busy emergency dept)
  • New break relief nurse positions (break relief nurses’ role is to ensure that other nurses on the floor have coverage to be able to take their rest and meal breaks)
  • Paid prep time for those chairing a hospital staffing committee, respecting the work involved to fully participate in the new statewide staffing committee process
  • Guarantee that charge nurses don’t have patient assignments in addition to their challenging charge duties

In a statement, Providence said it was “proud of the bargaining teams’ hard work to negotiate and deliver a fair contract for our nurses. We look forward to working with UFCW to ensure our patients and community continue to have access to the high-quality care PRMCE is known for.”

The wage increases were reported to be a 21.5% pay increase over three years, bringing Providence Everett nurses to competitive wages with other area facilities after years of being below market. The contract also includes new recognition for experience, a shorter path to future raises, a ratification bonus, as well as targeted bonuses and premium pay to achieve safer staffing where it’s needed most while also acknowledging the work of longtime staff who have been bearing the burden of short staffing.

More specifically, the contract includes:

  • Pay increases and ratification bonuses will be paid out on the second pay period following February 21 (April 12 paycheck)
  • 12 month step progression on nurse’s anniversary dates
  • Step correction for nurses who are at the incorrect step compared to their years of service at PRMCE
  • One step for every year of nursing experience obtained prior to being hired at PRMCE
  • Step correction for nurses who did not receive their correct step upon hire
  • $500 Monthly Staffing Bonus for Understaffing
  • Longevity Bonus for Senior RNs
  • Night Shift Longevity Bonus
  • March 31, 2026 contract reopener
  • Extra shift incentive for vacant shifts
  • $1000 Ratification Bonus for all RNs
  • Increases to premiums
  • 12 months needed to progress to next wage step
  • Year for year for past nursing experience
  • Chronic staffing issue can be resolved through binding mediation
  • Charge Nurses shall NOT take a patient assignment
  • Christmas Eve or December 26th holiday pay for night shift RNs
  • 1.5x pay when not scheduled off on a day of significance
  • Break relief position will be posted 21 days post ratification
  • Discuss implementation plan for break relief nurses in a closed unit
  • Weekend pay for Sunday night shift
  • EIB may be used on the first day of absence or illness
  • Boarder premium pay
  • 24 hours of admin pay for Hospital Staffing Committee chairs

Finally, the contract includes an early contract reopener in March of 2026 so nurses have the opportunity to bargain further improvements and stay competitive with area hospitals.

“Nurses at Providence Everett took every action they could think of to raise awareness about staffing issues, but ultimately it was the power of a highly effective strike and the democratic process of negotiating a union contract that made these changes possible,” said Faye Guenther, president of UFCW 3000. “We look forward to speaking with other health care employers about the innovative language nurses won at this bargaining table and spreading the word to other health care workers about Providence nurses’ big victory.”

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