Skagit Regional Health

Local Unit News

WSNA Nurses Celebration - June 23rd (06/16/2015)

WSNA Nurses Celebration

Skagit Nurses – Come celebrate our recently ratified contract and the power of pulling together to get things done!
Food and non-alcoholic beverages will be provided.

Where:
Skagit Brewery

When:
Tuesday, June 23, 2015, 5-9 pm

RSVP:
wsna@wsna.org
or 206-575-7979, ext. ‘0’

Your 2014-2017 Contract is Available (06/10/2015)

Your 2014-2017 Contract is now available to download. CDs will not be sent.

You can download a copy of the Contract onto all of your personal electronic devices that have PDF capabilities: Laptop, Desktop, Tablet, and Smartphone.

If you have any questions or are in need of a printed copy, please contact WSNA at 1-800-231-8482 or via email at wsna@wsna.org.

Sue O’Donnell, WSNA Nurse Representative: 1-800-231-8482, ext. 3045 /
sodonnell@wsna.org

Changing of the WSNA Nurse Reps (04/27/2015)

Please join me in welcoming Sue O’Donnell as your new WSNA Nurse Representative!

Sue is a knowledgeable professional that I enjoy working with and am sure you will appreciate, too. She can be contacted at:

Sue O’Donnell, RN
WSNA Nurse Representative
sodonnell@wsna.org
(206) 575-7979, Ext. 3045


I have enjoyed working with all of you!

In Solidarity,
Barbara Friesen, RN

Your Contract Was Ratified (03/24/2015)

On March 17th, 2015, Skagit Registered Nurses approved the new contract.

Thanks to ALL of you who worked so hard and stood strong during negotiations. By standing together we were able to show SRH management that we are dedicated professionals who demand that our voices be heard.

Again - THANKS TO ALL OF YOU!!!
The contract will be available soon. We will notify you when it is available. If you have any questions, please contact your Local Unit Officers or Nurse Representatives.

In Solidarity,
Your WSNA/SVH Negotiating Team: Stephene Swift, John Tweedy, Liz Rainaud, Julie Forkan, Linda Warman, Tami Hoeft, David Hari, Julia Weinberg, Doug Robinson
Barbara Friesen, Nurse Rep bfriesen@wsna.org 800-231-8482, ext. 3056
Sue O’Donnell, Nurse Rep sodonnell@wsna.org 800-231-8482, ext. 3045

Skagit Regional Health RN Contract General Summary (03/13/2015)

Your Bargaining Team Recommends a "YES" Vote!

We Thank The Nurses At Skagit Regional Health For Standing Up And Supporting Your Bargaining Team So That We Could Achieve A Fair Contract After 19 Hard-Fought Bargaining Sessions.

SKAGIT REGIONAL HEALTH RN CONTRACT GENERAL SUMMARY
March 17, 2015

TERM: Contract will expire on May 31, 2017.

WAGES:

  • 12/8/14: Retain base wage increases to Acute Care (4%), Hospice (4%) and Clinic (8%).
  • Ratification Date: Effective first full pay period after ratification all Urgent Care Nurses (current and newly hired) will be paid at the Acute Care wage rates, and the $4.00/hr. premium will cease.
  • 6/1/15: All nurses receive a 2.0% base wage increase. Plus, all non-urgent care clinic nurses (current and newly hired) will be paid at 95% of the Acute Care wage rates.
  • 6/1/16: All nurses receive a 2.0% base wage increase. Plus, all non-urgent care clinic nurses (current and newly hired) will be paid at 100% of the Acute Care wage rates.
  • Signing Bonus: After ratification of the Agreement, nurses will receive a payment of $1,000 for a 1.0 FTE, prorated by FTE, with a minimum payment of $200. Per Diems shall receive $200.
  • Through this wage agreement, we accomplished the important goal of securing good wage increases for all nurses and having all nurses at SRH on the same wage scale by next year. We secured a signing bonus to help offset the delay of the first wage increase. We also completely fought off Management’s dangerous proposal to condition wage increases on the Hospital meeting certain goals.

PREMIUMS AND OTHER COMPENSATION:

  • BSN Premium: Increased from $1.00 to $1.50 per hour.
  • Retirement Plan: New language requiring the Hospital to maintain its level of matching contributions for the life of the Agreement.

WORKPLACE ISSUES:

  • Conference Committee: WSNA can now have 5 members on the Committee, instead of 3, including the WSNA Nursing Representative. Other individuals may attend with the agreement of the Hospital and WSNA. New language requiring more frequent meetings in 2015 than was required by contract before.
  • Low Census: New language stating that volunteers will be low censused before those nurses working overtime.
  • Information Requests by WSNA: We removed language from the contract that limited WSNA’s access to Employer information only to when there was a filed grievance or when it was related to the bargaining process.
  • Training Positions: New language stating that the Hospital may post training positions in IV Therapy, Oncology and Hospice.
  • Floating: New language stating that no nurse will be required to float more than twice per shift.
  • Association Access to Premises: New language requiring the Hospital to designate a contact person for WSNA to notify when accessing the premises.
  • Work Day: New language clarifying that the normal work day is either 8, 10 or 12 hours and that any change from an individual nurse’s normal work day to another normal work day and any change to a nurse’s starting or end time must have the mutual agreement of the nurse. If the Hospital wishes to change from one normal work day to another normal work day for a whole unit, the Hospital must use the layoff process which gives nurses bumping rights within the unit and outside the unit based on seniority.
  • Clinical Care Groups: The groups have been clarified to clearly show the bumping rights that each nurse has in the event of a layoff.
  • Recognition for Previous Experience: New language ensuring that newly hired acute care nurses get full credit for previous acute care experience, that newly hired hospice nurses get full credit for hospice experience and that newly hired clinic nurses get full credit for previous clinic experience. New language also clarifying the credit a nurse would receive for experience in a different care setting than the setting into which he or she is hired.
  • Staffing: New language requiring that the Hospital maintain a staffing committee, that WSNA determine how the nurse members of the committee are selected and that nurses attending the meetings are on paid time. Also, we have developed a Nurse Staffing Concern Form that will be attached to the contract and will require the Hospital to state what measures were taken in response to nurses’ staffing concerns.
  • Hospice Nurses: New language stating that all nurses, not just per diems, will be oriented to telepage duties and procedures and that nurses who are regularly scheduled to work weekends cannot be forced to take relief telepage duty on a weekend, but can request to work it, if agreeable to the Employer.
  • Skagit Regional Clinic Nurses: New language clarifying that clinic nurses receive an unpaid meal period of one hour and that nurses required to work during the meal period shall be compensated for such work at the appropriate rate.

NEGATIVE PROPOSALS THAT YOUR FELLOW NURSES SUCCESSFULLY FOUGHT OFF:

  • Pay for Performance. Management proposed to condition some of the nurses’ future wage increases on the Hospital meeting certain goals relating to: whether patients would recommend the Hospital; communication with nurses; responsiveness of hospital staff; and pain management. WE SUCCESSFULLY FOUGHT OFF THIS PROPOSAL. Nurses’ wages are guaranteed as they are at other area Hospitals.
  • Per Diem and Premium in Lieu of Benefits Reduction: Management proposed to reduce the premiums from 15% to 10%. WE SUCCESSFULLY FOUGHT OFF THIS PROPOSAL.
  • Work Day: Management also proposed that a 6-hour shift be considered a “normal” shift and that Management be allowed to change the start and end time of a nurse’s shift without the nurse’s consent. WE SUCCESSFULLY FOUGHT OFF THIS PROPOSAL.
  • Grievance Procedure: Management proposed to restrict WSNA’s ability to choose who can represent nurses during grievance hearings. WE SUCCESSFULLY FOUGHT OFF THIS PROPOSAL.
  • Access to Premises: Management proposed to put additional burdens on WSNA before we can access the premises. WE SUCCESSFULLY FOUGHT OFF THIS PROPOSAL.
  • Job Posting: Management proposed that nurses with written disciplines within the last 12 months would not receive consideration when applying for a job. WE SUCCESSFULLY FOUGHT OFF THIS PROPOSAL.
  • Bereavement Leave: Management proposed to reduce the amount of bereavement leave. WE SUCCESSFULLY FOUGHT OFF THIS PROPOSAL.

We have a Tentative Agreement! Come and Vote Mar 17th! (03/02/2015)

We have a Tentative Agreement!

  • Modest wage increases.
  • Contract summary to follow next week.

Ratification Vote: Tuesday, March 17, 2015.

Come to one of the times listed below to cast your ballot. A summary, a red-line of the contract, your negotiating team, and the WSNA negotiating attorney will be available at the vote.

Date: March 17, 2015
Time: 0730 – 0900
Place: Sauk Room

Date: March 17, 2015
Time: 1400 - 1800
Place: San Juan A&B Room

Must be present and a member in good standing to be eligible to vote.

Your negotiating team worked hard to get you a fair contract!
Please consider donations of Annual Leave or Cash for your Negotiating Team who volunteered hundreds of hours of their time! Give your donations to one of the negotiating team members listed below, mail it to WSNA, or bring it to the ratification vote. Make checks payable to WSNA and write Skagit Negotiating Team on the memo line. You can get an Annual Leave donation form from any of the negotiating team members, and forms will also be available at the vote.

Your WSNA/SVH Negotiating Team; Stephene Swift, John Tweedy, Liz Rainaud, Julie Forkan, Linda Warman, Tami Hoeft, David Hari, Julia Weinberg, Doug Robinson
Barbara Friesen, Nurse Rep bfriesen@wsna.org 800-231-8482 ext.3056, Sue O’Donnell, Nurse Rep sodonnell@wsna.org 800-231-8482 ext 3045

!! Successful Action – Thank You – Successful Action !! (02/26/2015)

Thank you to everyone who attended the “Show of Solidarity.” It was very helpful, energizing and fun! We completed our 18th session of negotiations and are scheduled to meet again this Sunday, March 1, 2015.

See the Skagit Newspaper article

Stay Tuned!

Your
WSNA/SVH Negotiating Team; Stephene Swift, John Tweedy, Liz Rainaud, Julie Forkan, Linda Warman, Tami Hoeft, David Hari, Julia Weinberg, Doug Robinson

Barbara Friesen, Nurse Rep, bfriesen@wsna.org, 800-231-8482, ext. 3056
Sue O’Donnell, Nurse Rep, sodonnell@wsna.org, 800-231-8482, ext. 3045

Action Alert! Show of Solidarity (02/20/2015)

Now is the time to take action and show your support!

Come to:

1860 S. Burlington Blvd, Burlington, WA 98233

February 25, 2015

From 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.


Your WSNA/SVH Negotiating Team: Stephene Swift, John Tweedy, Liz Rainaud, Julie Forkan, Linda Warman, Tami Hoeft, David Hari, Julia Weinberg, Doug Robinson
Barbara Friesen, Nurse Rep, bfriesen@wsna.org 800-231-8482, ext.3056
Sue O’Donnell, Nurse Rep, sodonnell@wsna.org 800-231-8482, ext. 3045

Action Alert - Local Unit Meetings (02/12/2015)

Thank you to everyone who attended the last series of Local Unit meetings. It was very helpful to hear your thoughts, concerns, and ideas. We have taken your feedback into consideration in planning our next steps. Our 18th session of negotiations is scheduled for February 25, 2015.

YOUR NEGOTIATING TEAM HEARD YOU AND NEEDS YOUR HELP!

Please drop in to one of the local unit meetings.

Date: February 19, 2015
Time: 0730 – 0900
Place: Omak Room

Date: February 19, 2015
Time: 1200 – 1400
Place: Sauk Room

Date: February 19, 2015
Time: 1800 – 2000
Place: Shuksan Room

Your negotiating team cannot be successful without you.
Their strength comes from all of us standing together with them.


Your WSNA/SVH Negotiating Team:
Stephene Swift, John Tweedy, Liz Rainaud, Julie Forkan, Linda Warman, Tami Hoeft, David Hari, Julia Weinberg, Doug Robinson
Barbara Friesen, Nurse Rep bfriesen@wsna.org 800-231-8482, ext. 3056
Sue O’Donnell, Nurse Rep sodonnell@wsna.org 800-231-8482, ext. 3045

Negotiations Update (02/10/2015)

Your WSNA Negotiation Team last met with SRH management on Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015.

Recently, SRH management sent out a negotiations “update.”

BUT….. Here’s what you REALLY need to know….

WAGES: The wages for RNs at SRH have seriously lagged behind those of nurses working at nearby WSNA Hospitals for some time now. During the last negotiations with WSNA in 2011, Management insisted on slashing the wages of the Clinic nurses. We told Management that a big wage reduction a bad idea and that it would drive quality nurses away from SRH and hinder SRH’s ability to hire good nurses. Management refused to listen, and Clinic nurses began to earn MUCH less than WSNA-represented nurses at nearby facilities. We believed then, and we believe now, that this is a misguided approach to cost-savings.

WSNA has been proposing that SRH increase wages since day one of bargaining to correct the competitive wage disadvantage that Management has insisted upon. Management relented to WSNA’s pressure a bit by increasing wages in December, 2014, as negotiations dragged on. Even with this wage increase, the nursing wages at SRH still lag behind the market. For example, the vast majority of WSNA nurses at United General, currently earn 5%-7% more than acute care nurses at SRH, even with the December wage increase.

WSNA’s latest proposal:
5%
wage increase over pre-December, 2014 wages, plus existing step increases (effective retroactively June 1, 2014 – the expiration date of the current contract)

2.75% wage increase, plus existing step increases (effective June 1, 2015)

2.25% wage increase, plus existing step increases (effective June 1, 2016)

Clinic Nurses: would be brought up to the acute care wage scale by June 1, 2015 and receive the same raises as acute care nurses thereafter

Our modest proposal would help to lessen, not eliminate, the competitive wage disadvantage that SRH now faces. Our proposal ensures that nurses get a wage increase effective for the period from when the contract expired on June 1, 2014. Management is proposing no effective across-the-board wage increase for the time since the contract expired in June and when the December “4%” wage increase went into effect. By delaying the wage increase for 6 months, nurses only got the value of a 2% wage increase for that year. When St. Joseph’s Bellingham and United General Hospital recently settled their contracts after their expiration dates, Hospital leadership did the right thing and agreed to retroactive wage increases. SRH Management thinks differently and wants to take financial advantage of prolonged negotiations.

Management is even going one bold step further and proposing to condition some of the nurses’ future wage increases on the Hospital meeting certain goals relating to: whether patients would recommend the Hospital; communication with nurses; responsiveness of hospital staff; and pain management. If the Hospital doesn’t meet these goals, nurses will not get their full potential wage increases. We can only assume that Management believes that SRH nurses have all the tools and staffing support for the Hospital to meet these goals, though one has to question how nursing can be held responsible for the responsiveness of other staff. Meanwhile, nurses tell us about staffing problems at SRH; and Management refuses agree to substantive, meaningful approaches to staffing problems. Management fails to recognize that nurses are professionally driven and, that given the proper tools and support, provide exemplary care. Area WSNA hospitals understand this and do not hold its nurses’ compensation hostage as part of a misguided pay practice. They guarantee full wage increases for the life of their contracts all the while facing similar Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement constraints as SRH. We fear that Management’s dangerous new approach to compensation will give SRH nurses yet another reason to look elsewhere for employment where they can earn a better wage and count on guaranteed wage increases that are higher than what Management is proposing.

PER DIEM PREMIUM AND PREMIUM IN LIEU OF BENEFITS: Management continues to propose to cut the Per Diem premium and the premium in lieu of benefits. Currently, the premiums are 15%. Management is proposing to cut the premiums to 12%. All of the WSNA area hospitals pay their per diems a 15% premium. Moreover, Management made a completely new demand concerning per diem nurses on the 17th day of negotiations. To receive an entirely new demand so late in negotiations and during mediation is unusual and causes us to question Management’s good faith commitment to reaching an agreement. Management is now demanding that per diems not have the same flexibility they currently have regarding which days they are available to work. While we understand that individual nurses may have different points of view as to whether a per diem position is preferable to a FTE position with benefits, a couple of things are certain. Management’s proposal to slash per diem wages to below-market rates and to require per diem nurses to be available to work days that Management identifies will make per diem positions much less attractive to current and prospective nurses who will look elsewhere for higher pay and more flexibility. The result is that SRH risks losing a valuable resource and compounding its staffing problems. Moreover, we believe that Management’s proposal will make it cheaper for them to rely on per diem nurses rather FTE nurses with benefits and will encourage more skeletal staffing practices.

Layoff, Restructure and Work Days. During the course of negotiations, Management also proposed that a 6-hour shift be considered a “normal” shift and that Management be allowed to change the start and end time of a nurse’s shift without the nurse’s consent. Management also proposed drastic changes to the layoff procedure which limit nurses’ options in the event of a layoff. We have fought off Management’s proposals regarding 6-hour shifts and changing start and end times, but Management is still proposing to reduce nurses’ options during a layoff. Moreover, Management has recently demanded that it be able to offer any nurse that it chooses to work an 8-hour, 10-hour or 12-hour shift without posting the position and letting other nurses have a chance to apply for the position. We think that this is unfair to all nurses.

RETIREMENT AND HEALTH INSURANCE: Despite what you may infer from Management’s last update, Management is STILL proposing that it be permitted to try to reduce your retirement match during the life of the agreement, if it so desires. Management has rejected our proposal to preserve health and retirement benefits.

STAFFING: We can only assume that, rather than meaningfully engaging WSNA on substantive staffing and resource solutions, Management believes that the solution to improving CMS benchmark scores is to have nurses work harder so that they can realize the full value of a potential wage increase without a corresponding commitment by Management to ensure that nurses have the proper staffing and resources to provide excellent care. We believe there is a better approach and have proposed staffing language so that the level of care can be improved.

Here is WSNA’s latest proposal on staffing:

Staffing. The parties agree to cooperate in an effort to insure an appropriate relationship between patient care needs and staffing levels. Quality of care and the safety of all patients and of all nurses are of paramount concern to the Hospital. Standards established by the accrediting body shall be considered relevant criteria for determining appropriate staffing levels. Each unit in the Hospital’s facilities shall maintain staffing levels that ensure safe patient care and the health and safety of nurses, including staffing that enables nurses to take meal and rest breaks. To that end, the Employer shall maintain, at a minimum, the [current] staffing levels set forth in Appendix X.”

Management’s response to this common-sense proposal is “NO.”

How does Management expect nurses to help them meet their goals when they refuse to agree to staff so that nurses provide safe patient care and receive meal and rest breaks? They can’t even bring themselves to commit to, at a minimum, the current staffing levels. So the next time you are working short-staffed, ask yourself what Management is doing for you to help them meet goals relating to nurses’ communication with patients and their families, pain management and responsiveness of hospital staff. After all, under Management’s proposal, your paycheck will depend on it.

MAKE NO MISTAKE ABOUT IT, Management is proposing sweeping, fundamental and disturbing changes to your contract that we believe will be bad for nursing and bad for patients. Now more than ever, it is important that all nurses be informed about these issues and to join us in our defense of nursing at SRH.

Sincerely,

Your Fellow Nurses on your WSNA Bargaining Team

Negotiations update (01/15/2015)

Your fellow nurses on your WSNA bargaining team have been attempting to get a fair contract with Skagit Regional Health over 16 bargaining sessions since March, 2014, several of which have been with the assistance of a mediator. Why has bargaining taken so long? Quite simply, SRH has made several proposals which, we believe, would negatively impact nurses’ working conditions, limit nurses’ options in the event of a layoff/restructure, reduce SRH’s ability to attract quality nurses, limit WSNA’s ability to advocate on behalf of nurses at SRH and create uncertainty around health insurance and retirement. Meanwhile, Management has rejected our proposals to ensure safe staffing, to secure fair wages and to preserve our current health insurance and retirement benefits.

Wages. Management has proposed wage increases that we feel are not competitive with the market. Moreover, Management is proposing that some of nurses’ compensation be tied to the Value Based Purchasing scores set by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Management wants nurses to ensure that it meets certain CMS standards, but doesn’t seem willing to give nurses the staffing resources they need to meet them, as evidenced by nurses having to demand that the Board do something immediately about the staffing issues at SRH. Finally, Management is proposing to reduce the Per Diem wage premium and the Premium in Lieu of Benefits from 15% to 10%. It makes no sense for SRH to be proposing to reduce the wages for some of its nurses when wages at SRH lag behind the market.

Layoff, Restructure and Work Days.

During the course of negotiations, Management also proposed that a 6-hour shift be considered a “normal” shift and that Management be allowed to change the start and end time of a nurse’s shift without the nurse’s consent. Management also proposed drastic changes to the layoff procedure which limit nurses’ options in the event of a layoff. We have fought off Management’s proposals regarding 6-hour shifts and changing start and end times, but Management is still proposing to reduce nurses’ options during a layoff. We have made counter proposals that would streamline the layoff process and change the way 10-hour or 12-hour shifts may be implemented, but Management still wants more.

Health Insurance and Retirement.

Your bargaining team recognizes that affordable, comprehensive health insurance and a predictable retirement plan are very important issues to the nurses at SRH. WSNA has made proposals designed to preserve the level of health and retirement benefits nurses currently receive. Management has not agreed to these proposals.

WSNA’s Access to the Employer’s Premises and Its Ability to Represent Nurses at Grievance Meetings.

Management has proposed to put additional burdens on WSNA before it can access the premises and has proposed to restrict WSNA’s ability to choose who can represent nurses during grievance hearings. We believe that these proposals would reduce WSNA’s ability to represent effectively the interests of nurses at SRH. Such proposals are especially troublesome in a climate where SRH seems increasingly hostile to the concerns of its nurses.

Bereavement Leave. Not wanting to leave any stone unturned, Management is proposing to reduce bereavement leave for part-time nurses.

We hope that this update gives you a better understanding of the challenges we have faced during these difficult negotiations. Now, more than ever, it’s important for the nurses at SRH to stand united.

In Solidarity,

Your WSNA Bargaining Team

FREE DINNER Tuesday, January 13, 2015 (01/08/2015)

“Individual commitment to a group effort – that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.”

Vince Lombardi

Our Local Unit Officers and Negotiation Team are recruiting for
Unit Representatives from EVERY unit, ALL shifts.

FREE DINNER Tuesday, January 13, 2015
1800-2000

Round Table Pizza
115 E College Way, Mount Vernon

Do you:

  • talk to your colleagues about how you wish things could be better?
  • want to know what’s going on and how to best impact the outcome?
  • want a fair contract?

Having someone from YOUR unit at this dinner is crucial!
It’s up to you to talk to each other and confirm that one or more people from your unit are planning to attend!

YOU have the power and responsibility to your colleagues and your patients to find a way to make a positive impact!

RSVP NOW to WSNA at 800-231-8482 Ext 0, or wsna@wsna.org

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.

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