Virginia Mason Medical Center

Local Unit News

Spring 2014 Newsletter  (3/28/2014)

Spring 2014 Newsletter

We Want You…  (3/4/2014)

To attend your upcoming WSNA Local Unit Meeting!

When: Wednesday March 5th from 3:30 to 4:30
Where: “Correa B” in Cafeteria


Enter drawing to win great prizes!
Snacks and soft drinks provided.

Your WSNA Local Unit officers and WSNA Nurse Representative will be on hand to answer your questions and update you on what is happening at VMMC and around the state.

ALL REGISTERED NURSES WELCOME!!

The Contract Has Passed!  (12/10/2013)

Virginia Mason Medical Center RNs - December 2013
The Contract Has Passed!

WSNA members voted on Thursday, December 5th to accept the contract as proposed with a resounding “YES”!

Summary details of contract changes are available online.  Upon receiving all signatures, the final version of the entire contract will also be available online.

We also heard from two additional RNs that have seen the work of WSNA in action and signed up to become Members in Good Standing!

There is still time to donate vacation hours to your Negotiating team members who donated hundreds of hours of their time to negotiations.  VMMC has agreed to match all donated hours (up to 180) and pay this out in hourly wages to the team.  A donation form can be found by clicking here.

Great Job 2013 WSNA Negotiations Team!
Your WSNA Negotiations team members are: Susan Dunn, RN, Hyperbarics, Jane Hill-Littlejohn, RN, Rapid Response Team, Pat Callow-Borgeson, RN, Oncology, Gerry Siebel, RN, IV Team, Brittany Porter, RN, IMC Med Tele.

A big thanks to everyone that helped make this possible and congratulations on a very good three year contract.

Ed Zercher, BSN, RN
WSNA Nurse Representative

Vote Summary 2013  (12/3/2013)

Your WSNA Negotiation Team strongly recommends a “YES” vote!

To see the comprehensive summary of all proposed changes, click here.

VMMC RNs Show Up and VOTE!  (11/27/2013)

Date:      Thursday, December 5th, 2013

Time:    
6:00am – 9:00am Buse Education Room – Lindeman Pavilion Level 1
2:30pm – 5:30pm Lindeman Rooms F& G – Lindeman Pavilion Level 1

Your Local Unit officers and Negotiations team members including WSNA Attorney and Nurse Representative will be available to review changes and answer your questions.  You must be a WSNA member in good standing to vote but it is not too late to join!  
Log on to www.wsna.org and then click on “Membership” in the upper right of the home page.  See you at the vote!

Benefits that WSNA was able to secure:

  • We have managed to secure wage increases in addition to some premium and differential increases!  There are several other workplace issues that we also negotiated in order to benefit RNs throughout VM.

Take-Aways that management proposed and WSNA fought off:

  • Forced cash outs of accrued Annual Leave time
  • Reduced cap of accumulated Sick Leave balances
  • A loss of all accrued benefit time in the event an RN is fired
  • Rule that would allow management to request RNs to submit all hours worked for other employers

Your WSNA Negotiation Team strongly recommends a “YES” vote!

We will have a comprehensive summary of all proposed changes available on the day of voting and online.

Your Negotiating Team Members have volunteered all of their time for our negotiation sessions and mediation.  We are requesting the donation of vacation time to these RNs.  VMMC has agreed to MATCH all donated hours towards the team and pay out as hourly wages.  Donation Forms will be available at the vote and from your Local Unit Reps.  You can also access a form on our website (be sure to fill in the words “WSNA Negotiation Team” in the box labeled “Employee Receiving Donation.”)  We are asking that each nurse donate at minimum of a couple hours of vacation time to these most deserving members for a job well done.

VMMC RN Contract Vote  (11/20/2013)

We Have a Contract!  Your WSNA Negotiations Team and VM Administration have reached a Tentative Agreement.  Late into the night on Friday, November 15th, your team of WSNA Registered Nurses and VM management agreed to a proposal of contract modifications and wages.  We were able to make improvements in several areas and fight off a number of significant take-aways proposed by the employer.  Your team of Registered Nurses fought tirelessly to ensure that your rights and benefits were maintained.  WSNA and your Negotiations Team members can proudly recommend a “YES” vote.                                        

Mark Your Calendars:
Vote Date: Thursday December 5th
Vote Time: 6am to 9am and then again from 2:30pm to 5pm
Location to follow


Your WSNA Nurse Representative and WSNA General Council will be there to explain the contract and answer your questions.  A copy of the proposed contract will be found at WSNA.org the week prior to the vote

Be sure to thank your Team of RNs that have volunteered their time to make this a success.
Here is how you can show your WSNA Negotiations Team your support!!

Virginia Mason has agreed to allow RNs throughout VM to donate vacation hours in order to assist in compensating the Negotiations Team for their countless hours of dedicated work around Negotiations.  Everyone on the team has volunteered their time for these negotiations.  For every hour of vacation time that nurses donate, the Employer has agreed to match up to a maximum of 180 hours!  This is great news and allows the Nurses on the Team to receive the well deserved compensation for their time.

DONATE TODAY!!
Show your appreciation for these nurses and their ongoing time and effort.  We ask that all nurses consider donating at least a couple hours.  Download the form (click here) and fax it to the number on the front. Donate today!

A big thanks goes out to your 2013 Team of Registered Nurses: Susan Dunn RN Hyperbarics, Jane Hill-Littlejohn RN Rapid Response Team, Pat Callow-Borgeson RN Oncology, Gerry Siebel RN IV Team, Brittany Porter RN IMC Med Tele

Negotiations Update  (11/7/2013)

Your WSNA team of Registered Nurses has met for a 4th session with VMMC Administration.  We exchanged revised proposals and had a lengthy discussion on the proposals.

  • The Employer is trying to make some significant proposals that could impact your work life.
  • One employer proposal would require you to report all hours worked for any other employer in any given week upon request.
  • The employer’s wage increase proposal is still far below that of other area hospitals.

There are numerous other proposals that remain unresolved.  Your WSNA Team of your Registered Nurse Peers is working hard to represent your best interests and make sure that you receive the best support and benefits possible.

Our next Negotiations Session is set for Thursday, November 14th.

In the meantime, your WSNA Negotiations Team can use your support.

Virginia Mason has agreed to allow RNs throughout VM to donate vacation hours in order to assist in compensating the Negotiations Team for their countless hours of dedicated work around Negotiations.  Everyone on the team has volunteered their time for these negotiations.

For every hour of vacation time that nurses donate, the Employer has agreed to match up to a maximum of 180 hours!  This is great news and allows the Nurses on the Team to receive the well deserved compensation for their time.
DONATE TODAY, click here!!

Show your appreciation for these nurses and their ongoing time and effort.  We ask that all nurses consider donating at least a couple hours.

Download the form (click here) and fax it to the number on the front.  Donate today.

A big thanks goes out to your 2013 Team of Registered Nurses: Susan Dunn RN Hyperbarics, Jane Hill-Littlejohn RN Rapid Response Team, Pat Callow-Borgeson RN Oncology, Gerry Siebel RN IV Team, Brittany Porter RN IMC Med Tele 

2013 Contract Negotiations Update  (10/30/2013)

Your WSNA Negotiations Team of Registered Nurses has met for a third time with VMMC management and administration for a full day on Tuesday, October 29th.

Both sides offered counter proposals on a variety of contract items.  We will be meeting for our fourth Negotiations Session on Tuesday, November 5th.

As previously mentioned, your negotiating team members are volunteers that have committed to representing the needs of all RNs at VMMC.  Management has agreed to allow RNs to donate accrued vacation time to the negotiating team and they will match all donated hours at a rate of 1 to 1.  All VMMC RNs will have a chance to donate vacation hours to our team for the time that they are spending in negotiations that would otherwise be unpaid.

WSNA will create a link and post the forms that you will need in order to donate vacation hours towards this cause following our November 5th session so stay tuned!

Be sure to say thanks to your 2013 Negotiation Team Members who are:
Susan Dunn, RN, Hyperbarics, Jane Hill-Littlejohn, RN, Rapid Response Team, Pat Callow-Borgeson, RN, Oncology, Gerry Siebel ,RN, IV Team, and Brittany Porter, RN, IMC Med Tele

2013 Contract Negotiations Update  (10/23/2013)

Your WSNA Negotiations Team of Registered Nurses met for a second time with VMMC management and administration for a full day on Tuesday, October 22nd.

Virginia Mason offered their first proposal addressing economics.  We discussed a number of issues including the employer's proposal to force the cash-out of unused vacation while WSNA is working to increase access to RNs being able to consistently receive their accrued leave time.

We will be meeting for our third Negotiations Session on Tuesday, October 29th.

Here is how you can help!
Your Negotiating Team Members are volunteers that have committed to representing the needs of all RNs at VMMC.  Management has agreed to allow RNs to donate accrued vacation time to the Negotiating team and they will match all donated hours at a rate of 1 to 1.  All VMMC RNs will have a chance to donate to our team for the time that they are spending in negotiations that would otherwise be unpaid.

Stay tuned for details on this and thank you in advance for your support.

Your 2013 Negotiation Team Members are:
Susan Dunn, RN, Hyperbarics, Jane Hill-Littlejohn, RN, Rapid Response Team, Pat Callow-Borgeson, RN, Oncology, Gerry Siebel, RN, IV Team, and Brittney Porter, RN, IMC Med Tele
 

Contract Negotiations Have Begun!  (10/11/2013)

Your WSNA Negotiations Team of Registered Nurses met with VMMC Administration and Management for a full day on Thursday, October 10th.  Both sides have exchanged initial proposals and we are scheduled to meet for our 2nd Negotiations Session on October 22, 2013.

Our priorities have been set by your Negotiations Survey results and ongoing feedback regarding issues and concerns about our current contract.  We will continue to fight for a safe working environment and conditions that allows RNs to deliver the most safe and effective patient care possible.

For ongoing questions or concerns, please contact your WSNA Nurse Representative, Ed Zercher at ezercher@wsna.org.

United we prevail!

It's Time for Negotiations!  (7/24/2013)

Please complete this survey.  We need your feedback in an effort to represent all of your needs.  This short online survey will be an important part of preparation for your negotiation team members. 

Survey will end as of August 16th, 2013, so don’t wait!  Click here to take the survey.

We are looking for RNs from all areas of VMMC that are interested in being a part of the Negotiating Team.  You must be an active WSNA member to be on the Team AND to vote on the contract.  Please send your interest to be a part of this team to your Nurse Representative at  ezercher@wsna.org.  For any related questions or general concerns, feel free to call Ed Zercher at 206-575-7979, ext. 3022.   We will begin Negotiations in September for our contract that expires November 15th, 2013.

In Solidarity,
Ed Zercher, BSN, RN, WSNA Nurse Representative

Local Unit Meeting for all Registered Nurses  (12/4/2012)

Show up and bring a Colleague

Date: Monday December 10th
Time: 3:30PM-7PM (drop in anytime)
Location: Correa “C” (just off the Cafeteria)
Free Food and drinks!
Free drawing for Great Prizes

Come meet your WSNA Local Unit officers and Nurse Representative!
Learn about the issues at VMMC and what is happening across the state
This is your opportunity to have a voice….. and bring any issues that you may need addressed.

See you then!
For questions or suggestions, contact Ed Zercher at ezercher@wsna.org

Fall Newsletter  (11/5/2012)

click here

Washington State Nurses Lead the Fight for Collective Bargaining Rights and WIN!  (8/1/2012)

Tireless and committed actions have resulted in securing major victories for registered nurses!

The National Labor Relation Board agrees with the registered nurses at Virginia Mason Medical Center and the Washington State Nurses Association:

  1. VMMC violated Federal Labor Law on the first two counts, concluding that failing to disclose critical information and providing false and misleading information violated the Act.
  2. The National Relations Board upheld its earlier ruling for registered nurses’ rights to bargain about patient safety and resist mandatory immunization.  Registered nurses cannot be terminated for refusing mandatory immunization.  This is a huge VICTORY!
  3. The Board also issued a narrow ruling that a particular management rights clause in the WSNA/VMMC collective bargaining agreement waived the Union’s right to object to the Hospital’s masking policy during the term of the agreement. This narrow ruling, while disappointing, can only be understood in the context of the Courts’ and Board’s earlier rulings upholding RNs’ rights to bargain about patient safety and resist mandatory immunization.

Continued efforts by WSNA and the Virginia Mason Medical Center Registered Nurses are aimed at finding mutual agreement about what we all consider appropriate, evidence-based practices related to comprehensive influenza practices and policies.  Read more about the history and background about our long term negotiations at www.wsna.org/labor/Victories/Mandatory-Immunization/documents/VMMC-2012-07.pdf
     
It is important to understand that this very narrow and specific decision DOES NOT GIVE EMPLOYERS the power or the right to infringe upon the basic rights of collective bargaining.  Protection of organized employees still exists.  Any mandatory subjects of bargaining, to include changes to hours, wages or conditions of work, still need to be bargained with the union and the employer.  If you have questions, please contact your WSNA Nurse Representative Ed Zercher at ezercher@wsna.org or call (206) 575-7979, ext. 3022.

Flu Vaccination NLRB Case Update  (12/20/2011)

This issue originated back in 2005 when Virginia Mason Hospital made it mandatory for nurses to wear a mask during the course of their entire shift (excluding while using the restroom, in the break room or cafeteria) if they elected to decline the influenza vaccination.  WSNA believes:

  • All-day masking has no data to support its mandate;
  • Masking requirement set forth by VMMC is not consistent with CDC guidelines;
  • This masking requirement for RNs who elect to decline the influenza vaccination is purely punitive and attempts to publicly ostracize someone who may have contradictions to receiving the vaccine.

Earlier in the year, the NLRB reversed the 2006 decision of Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Gregory Meyerson, and held that mandatory masking for RNs who declined receiving the flu vaccination is a mandatory subject of bargaining under federal law.  The Board sent the case back down to the ALJ for consideration of other technical defenses.  On November 25, 2011, the same ALJ ruled that Virginia Mason’s refusal to bargain over masking was justified on other grounds.

Despite this setback, WSNA is determined to proceed to challenge the masking policy, and again, will be appealing this decision to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).  

For questions contact WSNA Nurse Representative Ed Zercher at ezercher@wsna.org.

The Contract has passed!  (1/13/2011)

WSNA members voted on Tuesday, January 11th to accept the contract as proposed with a resounding “YES”!!!

Summary details of contract changes are available by downloading and viewing this document: WSNA/Virginia Mason Hospital Contract General Summary and Highlights (PDF).  Upon receiving all signatures, the final version of the entire contract will also be available online on this page.

There is still time to donate vacation hours to your Negotiating team members who donated hundreds of hours of their time to negotiations.  VMMC has agreed to match all donated hours and pay this out in hourly wages to the team.  A donation form can be found by going to WSNA.org then “Find your local Unit” then Virginia Mason.

A big thanks to everyone that helped make this possible and congratulations on a very good three year contract!

Ed Zercher BSN, RN
WSNA Nurse Representative

VMMC RNs Show Up and Vote!  (1/5/2011)

Date: Tuesday, January 11th, 2011
Time: 6:00 am – 9:00 am and again from 2:30 pm – 5:00 pm
Place: Lindeman F & G

Items that your Negotiating team worked hard to attain (highlights only):

Term: 3 year contract term that will expire on November 16th of 2013

Premiums: Increase in Night Shift Differential from $4/Hr to $4.25/HR (starting date of ratification)

Wages:

  • 2% (Retroactive to 1st pay period beginning on or after Nov. 16, 2010)
  • 2% (1st pay period beginning on or after Nov. 16, 2011)
  • 2.25% (1st pay period beginning on or after Nov. 16, 2012)

There are several other workplace issues that we also negotiated in order to benefit RNs throughout VM.

Take-aways that Management proposed and WSNA fought off:

  • Floating – Mgt. wanted to be able to float RNs more than once per shift.
  • Layoff Procedure - Mgt. proposed drastic changes to the layoff language.
  • Probationary Period - Mgt. proposed to double the probationary period for new hires from 520 hours to 1040 hours.

Your WSNA Negotiation Team strongly recommends a "YES" vote!

We will have a comprehensive summary of all proposed changes available on the day of voting, or download this document: WSNA/Virginia Mason Hospital Contract General Summary and Highlights (PDF).

Please Consider Donating 1 Day of Time Off to the Negotiating Team

Your Negotiating Team Members have volunteered all of their time for our negotiation sessions and mediation. We are requesting the donation of vacation time to these RNs. VMMC has agreed to MATCH all donated hours towards the Team and pay out as hourly wages! Donation Forms will be available at the vote and from your Local Unit Reps. You can also download and use this form: Donation of Time Off Authorization Form (PDF). Be sure to fill in the words "WSNA Negotiation Team" in the box labeled "Employee Receiving Donation." We are asking that each nurse donate at minimum of 1 hour of vacation time to these most deserving members for a job well done. Be on the lookout for your Local Unit Officer Nomination Forms arriving in the mail!

Here is your chance to donate to your WSNA Negotiating Team Members!    We are asking VMMC RNs to donate at least one hour to this group of volunteers to help compensate them for their many hours spent in the negotiations.  Be sure to fill in the words,  "WSNA Negotiating Team" in the box labeled "Employee Receiving Donation".  The team did an amazing job with the many difficulties faced!  Sincere thanks!

Negotiation Update  (11/11/2010)

Your WSNA Negotiating Team has met for a total of 5 bargaining sessions with VMMC management.

Virginia Mason came to the table with a number of “take-aways” which would have serious negative impact on your work life.  Your fellow nurses on your WSNA bargaining team have been working hard throughout the process ensure that Virginia Mason does not take away various workplace protections that the bargaining unit has worked hard over the years to attain.  Despite our feeling that we were getting fairly close to a settlement agreement yesterday, Virginia Mason told us that they felt that we were still too far apart on some issues to conclude negotiations.

We are now working on scheduling additional date(s) for negotiations.  WSNA remains committed to the process and will work hard to fight off management’s proposed take-aways.

It is important for all nurses to stand united for a positive outcome.  Your Negotiating Team members have volunteered considerable time for this process and will continue to do so until we reach mutual agreement.  We are asking nurses to consider the donation of vacation hours to your fellow nurses on your negotiating team and have received agreement from Virginia Mason that they will match these hours one for one and divide all donated hours among the team members to assist in compensating them for some of their time.

Some of the issues that remain unresolved that could have serious impacts on the working conditions of RNs at Virginia Mason are:

  • Management’s proposal that nurses can be required to float more than once a shift;
  • Management’s proposal to extend probationary periods for new RNs;
  • Management’s proposal to make unfavorable layoff language changes;
  • Management’s proposal to lengthen the eligibility period to access Family and Medical Leave;
  • Amount of wage increases and differentials;
  • Ensuring that foreign-educated nurses get proper credit for relevant work experience;
  • Parking and RN safety measures.

Stay tuned for ways that you may be able to assist your negotiating team and all RNs at VMMC in bringing these negotiations to a successful conclusion.

Your WSNA Negotiating Team members are: Jane Hill-Littlejohn, Sue Dunn, Jim O'Halloran, Pat Callow-Borgeson, Nancy Crutcher and Theresa Williams.

In Unity!
Ed Zercher, BSN, RN, WSNA Nurse Representative

Negotations Update  (11/4/2010)

Your WSNA Negotiating team has met with administration October 27th and November 2nd. 

Both sides have presented initial proposals and economic packages.  There is much work left to do and your negotiating team RNs are committed to protecting your best interests throughout the process.  Our next scheduled date to meet will be November 9th.

The RNs at VMMC have been the driving force behind placing VMMC on the map as a respected health care provider.  WSNA strives to stress this to management and reiterate your daily contributions to VMs success.  Stay tuned for updates.

Your Negotiating Team Members are volunteers that have committed to representing the needs of all RNs at VMMC.  Management has agreed to allow RNs to donate accrued vacation time to the Negotiating team and match all donated hours at a rate of 1 to 1.  All VMMC RNs will have a chance to donate to our team for the time that they are spending in negotiations that would otherwise be unpaid.  Stay tuned for details on this and thank you in advance for your support.  Our October 7th Sidewalk Social Drawing winners have been chosen!!

Please offer a big congrats to the following RNs:
Edith Frates RN- winner of a Kindle Reader!
Gloria Osorio RN- winner of $20 Barnes and Noble Certificate
Sunny Rockom RN- winner of $20 Barnes and Noble Certificate
Theresa Williams RN- winner of Movie Tickets package
Lucy Travers-O’Neill RN- winner of Movie Tickets package
Liz Long RN- winner of $15 Arosa Coffee Certificate
Brigitte Reichstadt RN- winner of $15 Arosa Coffee Certificate

These prizes were brought to you by your local Unit officers:
Jane Hill-Littlejohn RN, Local Unit Chairperson
Sue Dunn RN, Grievance Officer
Pat Callow-Borgeson RN, Secretary
Jim O’Halloran RN, Membership

UNITED WE WILL PREVAIL!

- Ed Zercher, BSN, RN, WSNA Nurse Representative

Negotations Update  (10/14/2010)

Negotiations have begun!  On October 12th 2010 your WSNA Negotiating Team went to the table with Management to start bargaining for our next contract cycle.  We submitted our first proposals and will meet again on October 27th for our next round of negotiating.  Your priorities remain our #1 goal as we proceed through this process.

Your Negotiating team members are:
Sue Dunn, Jane Hill-Littlejohn, Jim O’Halloran, Pat Callow-Borgeson, Nancy Crutcher and Theresa Williams... They are all working very hard to protect your best interests!

Thanks to everyone that helped make our October 7th Sidewalk Social such a great success.  Stay tuned for our next communication when we will be announcing the big winners from our Sidewalk Social drawing!

United we make a difference!

Ed Zercher, BSN, RN
WSNA Nurse Representative

Negotiation Prep Has Begun!  (9/2/2010)

Your WSNA Negotiation Team has met and begun to review all of the surveys submitted by our members as well as other contract issues of concern. We will keep you informed throughout this process.

We have scheduled a pre-negotiation "Sidewalk Social" to kick-off the proceedings and to let all VMMC RNs know how important they are. There will be available: Information, updates, food, drinks and prizes for VMMC RNs who stop by. Mark your calendars for this October 7th, 6:30am to 4:00pm event located on sidewalks around VMMC.

WSNA values the experience, opinions and contributions of all VMMC RNs!

Contracts Are In!  (4/28/2010)

All VMMC Registered Nurses
The new contracts are in on DVD!

Take a minute to stop by on May 3rd between 8am and noon to pick up your copy. WSNA representatives will be located in room "Correa A" in the cafeteria during these hours and available to answer any questions you may have.

We have also posted an online survey regarding rest breaks at VMMC that we are asking all RNs to complete. The survey may impact how you are compensated for missed Rest Breaks as well as how VMMC ensures that you get the much needed breaks that you are entitled to. This survey can be found at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/VMMCRestBreak as well as WSNA.org under "find your local unit" then "Virginia Mason."

Take the time to make a difference!

In Unity,
Ed Zercher

New Scrub Changing Policy  (4/17/2010)

After more than 9 months of meetings and evidence presentation, VMMC has elected to change scrub changing policies! WSNA filed an Association grievance last year arguing that RNs in restricted areas such as O.R., PACU and EP Lab are mandated to change into hospital scrubs as a unit requirement. This takes place on work time and is therefore time that should be paid. VMMC has agreed to allow 5 minutes after the start of a scheduled shift and 5 minutes before a scheduled shift for nurses to change into and out of scrubs and get paid for that time.

We have just agreed on a settlement offer that provides the following:

1. The staff nurses in Electro-Physiology Department, Operating Rooms and PACU will be allowed 10 minutes of paid changing time for every shift worked. These RNs will, therefore, be allowed to report to their work station 5 minutes after the scheduled shift start time and will be released 5 minutes before shift end time.

2. Upon request, staff nurses in the Electro-Physiology Department, Operating Rooms and PACU will be granted an additional paid 10 minutes added to their lunch (5 minutes before and 5 minutes after) if they desire to leave specified areas requiring them to change in and out of scrubs. All requests made before the completion of the first hour of the nurse’s shift shall be granted provided patient care is not compromised.

This agreement included back payments totaling over $40,000!!!!!!! This equates to an average of about $363.00 for each nurse working in these areas. The Settlement Payment is slated to come out on your April 23rd paychecks.

Please take the time to thank your WSNA officers that worked so hard to make sure that Virginia Mason was willing to do the right thing!! They deserve your appreciation.

Jane Hill-Littlejohn RN, Local Unit Chairperson
Jim O’Halloran RN, Membership
Susan Dunn RN, Grievance Officer
Pat Callow-Borgeson RN, Secretary

Much thanks from WSNA for their ongoing dedication to Nurse Advocacy.

VM Forced to Retract its Mandatory H1N1 Vaccination for RNs  (10/2/2009)

Virginia Mason, through a press release to the media (without any notification to its nurses or WSNA in violation of a 9th circuit court mandate) on the afternoon of October 1st stated that “it will require all staff, including physicians, nurses, other clinicians and non-direct, patient-care staff, to receive the H1N1 vaccine, in addition to the seasonal flu vaccine, by Nov. 30 as a fitness-for-duty requirement.”

When the media brought this to our attention, WSNA immediately pointed out that Virginia Mason defied the 9th Circuit Court decision with its intention to implement a new requirement of H1N1 vaccination as a fitness-for-duty.  This is a change in working conditions and must be bargained with WSNA, which they clearly have not done.

Due to pressure from WSNA, Virginia Mason has since issued a retraction to say that “There is no change to Virginia Mason's flu policy for union represented nurses. Represented nurses who do not get the H1N1 vaccine or the seasonal flu vaccine are required to wear a mask during the flu season.”

This is a clear victory for WSNA nurses at VM and around the State!

If VM is so concerned by safety, why don’t they follow CDC guidelines?

Virginia Mason’s policy to require all nurses who are not vaccinated against the seasonal and H1N1 vaccine is NOT evidence based and does NOT comply with CDC guidelines.  Current CDC recommendations do NOT call for non-vaccinated health care personnel to wear a mask at all times while on duty.

According to the current CDC guidelines:

  • No studies have definitively shown that mask used by either infectious patients or health-care personnel prevents influenza transmission.
  • Surgical masks should be worn by health care personnel (whether vaccinated or not) when in close contact (within 3 ft) with a patient who has symptoms of a respiratory infection.
  • N-95 respirators should be worn by health care personnel (whether vaccinated or not) when in close contact (within 3 ft) with a patient diagnosed or suspected of having the H1N1 virus.

VM’s requirement that all nurses who are not vaccinated wear a mask at all times while on duty is merely a punitive measure against those who choose not to be vaccinated.  It ignores standard precautions while creating a false sense of security for patients, the public and nurses.

VM - If you really care about patient and nurse safety:   

  • Why don’t you follow CDC guidelines?
  • Why don’t you provide adequate and appropriate equipment to the nurses?

Stay tuned for updates.  Please contact WSNA Nurse Representative Ed Zercher, BSN, RN, at ezercher@wsna.org or 206-575-7979 x.3022 for questions and with any information. Go to WSNA's Flu Information Website for more information.

Founded in 1908, WSNA is the professional organization representing more than 16,000 registered nurses in Washington State. WSNA effectively advocates for the improvement of health standards and availability of quality health care for all people; promotes high standards for the nursing profession; and advances the professional and economic development of nurses.

More Information...

WSNA Logo
Washington State Nurses Association
575 Andover Park West, Suite 101
Seattle, WA 98188
206.575.7979    |    206.575.1908 fax
© 2005-2014.   All rights reserved.    |    Privacy Policy    |    Site Map

The Washington State Nurses Association Continuing Education Provider Program (OH-231, 9-1-2012) is an approved provider of continuing nursing education by the Ohio Nurses Association (OBN-001-91), an accredited approver by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation.