PUYALLUP, Wash. — MultiCare Good Samaritan nurses represented by the Washington State Nurses Association have reached a tentative agreement with the hospital.
The agreement came after more than 20 hours the bargaining, in the early hours of Thursday morning.
“We started yesterday morning at 8:30 and we didn’t finish till about 5 a.m. this morning,” MultiCare local bargaining co-chair Jared Richardson RN said.
The tentative agreement comes after 95% of MultiCare nurses voted to strike Wednesday night.
It’s also important to note that a month ago, the nurses issued a no-confidence vote against MultiCare CEO Bill Robertson, after he rejected their staffing plan and invitation to a town hall meeting.
After 19 bargaining sessions and three months without a contract, Richardson says he’s relieved there’s a tentative agreement on the table.
“I’m exhilarated, this has been so much … We’re seeing historic wage increases, we’re going to have better, safer staffing. We’re going to have some of the strongest language around breaks in the country nurses. It’s fantastic,” Richardson said.
The union says they are asking for 12-24% raises, ratification bonuses of $3,500 dollars, and a charge and flex nurse for every unit. Richardson says this will give nurses time to use the restroom and take breaks during their 12 hours shifts.
“To go that long without safely being able to stay away from your patients, to make sure that you get some time to decompress,” he said.
The union says these issues have been going on for two years, and while they were able to fight for some great benefits there’s more they would like to see.
“One thing that we want and it’s still a struggle across the country for nurses and is hard ratios in the contract, so that’s specific amount of patients per nurse,” Richardson said.
As for what comes next, all 750 nurses that are part of the union will need to vote on the tentative agreement. That vote is expected to happen next Thursday.
A spokesperson for the hospital says they look forward to completing the process.
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