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Spokane nurses approve new contract with Providence Sacred Heart

The nurses turned out in 'unprecedented' numbers and voted 'overwhelmingly' to approve the contract, according to the nurses' union.

SPOKANE, Wash. — The Washington State Nurses' Association said on Thursday that they have voted to ratify a contract with Providence Sacred Heart.

According to a WSNA statement sent at 9:36 p.m. on Thursday, nurses voted "overwhelmingly" to approve the contract.

"Providence Sacred Heart nurses showed up in unprecedented numbers to vote on their contract today and voted overwhelmingly to ratify. The contract will remain in effect through Dec 31, 2022," the statement reads. 

On Jan. 7, the two sides reached a tentative agreement after months of negotiations to avoid a strike. 

“This tentative agreement protects the benefits our members have earned and secures new investments in patient care and workplace safety,” said Darryl Johnson, a cardiac intensive care nurse, in a statement. “This is a major victory for Sacred Heart nurses and our entire Spokane community.” 

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Union leaders said last week that the agreement includes key provisions sought by nurses,  including enhanced language on staffing levels and workplace violence prevention; protection of paid time off and extended illness benefits; limits on employer’s ability to raise premiums and preservation of important health benefits; wage increases of 10% over the duration of the contract; and a ratification bonus of $2,100, pro-rated for part-time nurses. 

Workers passed strike authorization votes in October due to "ongoing challenges and a lack of progress to protect patient care and safety," the WSNA said in a statement. 

Providence health care workers across Washington state, including those at Sacred Heart and Holy Family, paused plans to give a 10-day strike notice last week after unions made significant progress in negotiating with hospitals statewide. 

Both sides were able to reach the tentative agreement after marathon sessions, including 20 hours on Jan. 6 and 33 total hours over two days.

RELATED: Spokane health care workers reach tentative agreements with Providence hospitals

RELATED: Sacred Heart nurses reach tentative agreement with hospital after negotiations