Washington governor gets Swedish, union back to bargaining table next week

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has worked with Seattle-based Swedish Medical Center and the Service Employees International Union Healthcare 1199NW to restart negotiations with outside mediators, his office announced.

Negotiations will resume March 5, and the governor said he hopes an agreement can be reached in four days.

The governor stepped into the dispute weeks after about 7,800 unionized registered nurses, service, technical and professional caregivers went on strike in January. During the walkout, Swedish brought in temporary workers to replace striking ones. It also temporarily closed emergency departments at its Ballard and Redmond campuses and the labor and delivery unit at the Ballard campus.

"I thank the leaders on both sides who have embraced the need to hit reset on negotiations," Mr. Inslee said. "We have strong commitments to use this opportunity to settle a set of new contracts."

Thomas Kochan, a professor of industrial relations, work and employment at MIT Sloan School of Management in Cambridge, Mass., and federal mediator Beth Schindler will serve as outside mediators.

Mr. Inslee said representatives from his office, along with hospital and union leaders, will separately meet this week with Mr. Kochan and Ms. Schindler, who already has been working with the union and Swedish. He said mediators and representatives from his office will also meet with leaders from Providence St. Joseph's Health, a Swedish affiliate.

Overall, Mr. Inslee said, the union and Swedish "are clearly committed to establishing a more collaborative relationship for the future."


More articles on human resources:
San Joaquin General Hospital RNs issue strike notice
California hospital workers schedule strike for Feb. 28
6 strikes involving 1,000 or more healthcare workers

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