Press release

UW Medical Center Engaging in Bad Faith Bargaining with its Nurses, says preliminary ruling from PERC


SEATTLE – (Sept. 15, 2015) On September 9, the Public Employment Relations Commission (PERC) issued a preliminary ruling that the University of Washington Medical Center was not bargaining in good faith for a new collective bargaining agreement with the 1,500 Registered Nurses, represented by the Washington State Nurses Association.

The preliminary ruling in favor of the Nurses, says that the Medical Center’s insistence on a “last, best, and final offer,” and misrepresentations about the content of negotiation proposals, were sufficient to show that unfair labor practice violations could be found. This preliminary decision by PERC moves disputes over the case forward to a likely hearing before an administrative law judge. The ruling was in response to unfair labor practice charge filed by the Washington State Nurses Association on September 1.

For months, the WSNA bargaining team has been pressing the Medical Center to bargain a good faith, fair and balanced agreement. Rather than continue good faith bargaining, the Medical Center announced on June 30 that it was making its “last, best, and final offer.”The Center refused to even make a counter offer to new WSNA proposals. PERC’s preliminary ruling moves forward on the charge that “the Medical Center has been failing to bargain in good faith; declaring impasse in collective bargaining agreement (CBA) negotiations too early; prematurely presenting a last, best, and final offer; demanding that the Union vote on the Medical Center’s offer; taking inflexible positions in bargaining (also known as “Boulwarism”); refusing to continue to bargain over a successor CBA; and endeavoring to frustrate the possibility of reaching an agreement.”

On a second count the PERC preliminary ruling also moves forward on the charge that the Medical Center has been circumventing the Union and providing false and intentionally misleading information to bargaining unit employees about proposals made by the Union concerning union security.

Major issues including sufficient and safe staffing, comparable pay, mandatory call and union security remain to be resolved.These issues matter to both the Medical Center’s proud professional nurses, and the patients they care for.

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Contact: Ruth Schubert, Communications, (206) 713-7884, rschubert@wsna.org


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