Registered nurses from Kadlec Regional Medical Center are planning a candlelight vigil Jan. 11.
The vigil will be from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Stevens Drive in front of the Richland hospital complex.
It’s to “mourn the passing of the Kadlec we once knew, before its affiliation with Providence Health & Services. We will remember the Kadlec that was a true community hospital that put patients before profits,” said a statement from the Washington State Nurses Association, which is representing about 800 Kadlec nurses in contract talks.
The nurses’ three-year contract expired Nov. 30. Negotiations for a new pact have been going on since May.
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Staffing levels, paid time off and sick leave are the main sticking points.
In early December, nurses took an advisory vote on a possible future strike. It won 90 percent approval from the nurses who attended.
The vote didn’t authorize a strike. It was described as a way to gauge how the nurses were feeling at that point.
We hold this vigil nearly eight months after negotiations started, with 90 percent of nurses supporting a strike advisory vote. We will light candles in the hope that Kadlec management will return to the bargaining table ... ready to treat its nurses with respect.
Nurses association statement
Nurses and Kadlec officials are scheduled to get back to the negotiating table Jan. 13.
In its statement, the nurses association said, “It has been more than 22 years since the registered nurses at Kadlec took a strike vote. We hold this vigil nearly eight months after negotiations started, with 90 percent of nurses supporting a strike advisory vote. We will light candles in the hope that Kadlec management will return to the bargaining table ... ready to treat its nurses with respect.”
Kadlec officials have declined to discuss details of the negotiations to “respect the process and keep the talks at the table.”
They’ve also said they are committed to negotiating in good faith and are hopeful a resolution can be reached.