Outside of the Carpenters Local 59 Union Hall in Spokane, there’s a flurry of activity. The building is adorned with large banners featuring statements like “Keep Sacred Heart nurses and patients safe” and people are streaming in and out of it. Some stop to enthusiastically greet friends. There’s a palpable energy. It’s a union strike vote.
Last week, after over a year of contract negotiations between hospital staff and Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane and Providence Health and Services — a large Renton-based nonprofit that runs hospitals across the West Coast — unionized employees voted to authorize a strike.