Kadlec employees picket for more funding
RICHLAND, Wash. - Employees at a local medical facility are using their voices to advocate for better wages and more funding for Tri-Cities patients.
Nurse assistants, radiology techs, and other caregivers at Kadlec picketed outside the hospital Wednesday to ask Providence Health, Kadlec's parent company, to give them more resources.
“1-2-3-4 patients are worth fighting for!” the picketers chanted in unison.
The rally cries heard outside Kadlec were one's calling for better pay, more staff, and respect.
“When do we want it? Now!” They said.
Kadlec caregivers from the local SEIU Healthcare 1199NW Union said Providence Health isn't giving them the same treatment they are giving their other hospitals across the state.
“We are not getting standard wage increases,” said Lindsay Rivas, certified nurse assistant. “We don't have safe staffing ratios. We don't have safe rest between shifts. We have people in the OR who do surgeries for hours, only get like a two-hour break then have to be back for another 12 hour shift.”
Union members said they have been negotiating a contract with Kadlec for several months--contracts they said already exist for workers at other Providence hospitals.
“What we're asking for isn't outrageous,” Rivas said. “It's stuff that Providence has already given. So we just want that here.”
Some caregivers said they aren't making more than minimum wage, and some lost up to a week of vacation time when Providence took over in 2014.”
“Staff is getting tired,” Rivas said. “They are getting worn down. And people are leaving to find other jobs because the pay is better elsewhere.”
Kadlec responded to the picketing:
"We greatly value our Kadlec caregivers and are focused on reaching an agreement as soon as possible.
Kadlec and SEIU 1199NW are negotiating a first labor contract, and we are making good progress in the discussions. We are disappointed that the union is, in our opinion, taking the premature step of holding an informational picket. Kadlec is committed to negotiating in good faith."
“We have some wins, but we have a long road ahead of us still to fight for what we deserve,” said Bertha Montes, lead mammographer and bargaining team member.
Providence and the Union will continue negotiations. The next session is 16 May.