Nurses at Virginia Mason picketing over safety concerns, better staffing

Virginia Mason nurses spent Tuesday morning on the picket lines, demanding protections against workplace safety and staffing. 

After several bargaining sessions, more than 600 nurses, represented by the Washington State Nurses Association, are picketing outside the hospital for better staffing and wages, and more protections against workplace violence. 

According to the association, nurses say patients have brought in weapons and their workload is increasing.

They also their concerns are being ignored by management. 

The hospital released this statement: 

"The nursing staff at Virginia Mason Medical Center play an invaluable role in caring for patients in our hospital, our clinics and our community. Virginia Mason Franciscan Health is committed to ensuring a safe and high-quality workplace that attracts and retains our dedicated employees. We address any safety issues immediately as they occur and work to ensure a secure environment is provided for everyone. We respect the collective bargaining process and are participating in good faith. As we move forward with the negotiation process, patients can expect to receive uninterrupted, quality care." 

Nurses plan to rally from 6-8:30 a.m. and Noon-2 p.m. Tuesday.