“We survived the raids!” - WSNA nurses celebrate at ANA convention

Labor unrest, deception and union raids #

The highlights of the 1980s include: member­ship reaching 8,400; adoption of WSNA Bill of Rights; lobbying with others for compa­rable worth legis­la­tion; and another WSNA nurse member elected to the state legis­la­ture. WSNA also achieves recog­ni­tion at the national level as a leader among state nurses associ­a­tions and provides leader­ship for restruc­turing ANA as a modified Feder­a­tion. Several WSNA leaders were elected to national office including Eunice Cole as ANA Presi­dent. The overshad­owing cloud, however, was the initial labor union raid of WSNA bargaining units, begun in 1983 by SEIU/1199-NW and which continued throughout the decade. In 1989, an internal raid began, executed by dissi­dent staff, who stole the member­ship rosters and joined UFCW in raiding WSNA. At the end of the decade, these union raids had escalated to full scale war and WSNA sought help from its sister states and ANA in order to survive. These raids cost the Associ­a­tion more than a million and a half dollars and half of its member­ship. It is a credit to the perse­ver­ance and courage of the men and women who stayed with the associ­a­tion through this crisis and helped restore and rebuild it from within. It is also amazing that the work of the Associ­a­tion could go on throughout this time. Major advances occurred in spite of the crisis.


1980 #

WSNA negoti­ates 35 contracts. The E&GW Program grows to 85 local units and more than 10,000 RNs repre­sented for collec­tive bargaining.


1981 #

  • WSNA adopts the RN Bill of Rights.”
  • First year of PUNCH (WSNA-PAC) candi­date endorsements.
  • WSNA secures passage of a bill that mandates the Health Care Contrac­tors (Blue Shield/​Blue Cross) reimburse nurses for their services if the Health Care Contrac­tors would have paid a physi­cian for the service.

1982 #

  • The Washington State Nurses Founda­tion (WSNF) is estab­lished. It’s primary purpose is to provide educa­tional support through nursing schol­ar­ships and mentorship.
  • Eunice Cole elected ANA presi­dent; Louise Shores elected ANA Treasurer.

1983 #

  • WSNA and WSMA jointly support successful legis­la­tion mandating the use of seat belts in automobiles.
  • WSNA is instru­mental in gaining recog­ni­tion from the Depart­ment of Labor and Indus­tries so that services provided by RN surgical first assists are reimbursable.
  • WSNA is a founding member of the Committee for Afford­able Health Care whose work led to the intro­duc­tion and successful passage of the Washington Basic Health Plan.
  • WSNA experi­ences its first union raid” by 1199-NW at Group Health. This is followed by additional raids in Yakima, Harborview and several others.

1985 #

  • WSNA gains passage of Nurse-Patient Privi­lege Commu­ni­ca­tions Bill after being reintro­duced every year for seven years.
  • Federal legis­la­tion estab­lishing Diagnostic Related Group­ings (DRGs) dramat­i­cally changes payments to hospitals.
  • The State Board of Nursing adopts regula­tions requiring a Masters Degree for recog­ni­tion as a CRN begin­ning in 1990. Current CRNs are grand­fa­thered in and the CRN titile is changed to Advanced Regis­tered Nurse Practi­tioner (ARNP).
  • WSNA partic­i­pates in a joint task force with the Washington State Board of Nursing on the chemi­cally depen­dent nurse and develops a plan for 1988 legis­la­tion supporting a program to assist chemi­cally depen­dent nurses and health care workers.
  • Judy Huntington elected ANA 2nd vice-president.

1988 #

  • WSNA success­fully lobbies for passage of the Nurse Forgiv­able Loan Program and for passage of the Nursing Assis­tant Law, intro­duced by WSNA, to ensure that nursing controls nursing practice and that the RCTs (Regis­tered Care Techni­cians) as proposed by the American Medical Associ­a­tion, could not be estab­lished in Washington state.
  • Two nurses run for election to the Washington State Legis­la­ture; WSNA member Margarita Prentice is elected to the House.

1989 #

  • WSNA along with other nursing organi­za­tions, develops a Master Plan for Nursing in Washington state.
  • WSNA and ARNPs begin a decade of lobbying to complete Prescrip­tive authority for ARNPs by adding schedule II-IV authority.
  • Dissi­dent staff join UFCW and 1199-NW in raiding WSNA. WSNA loses nearly half its bargaining units and member­ship before the raids subside.