Yesterday, Nov. 30, the Washington State Nurses Association bargaining team met with Kadlec management for our twelfth negotiating session. While we were hopeful that an agreement could be reached prior to the contract expiring on Nov. 30, yesterday’s negotiations did not yield an agreement. Safe nurse staffing levels for patient care, along with maintaining sick leave and paid time off, remain the top issues.
At the end of yesterday’s bargaining session, WSNA and Kadlec management agreed to look at dates for additional negotiation sessions, and we look forward to continuing to bargain in good faith to get a good contract for our nurses for the next three years. At the same time, the negotiating team is frustrated by Kadlec’s approach.
Kadlec chose to come to the table proposing that nurses either accept huge permanent losses in Paid Time Off and complete elimination of sick leave (EIB) or pay exorbitant rates for medical insurance in return for increased wages. The WSNA bargaining unit has been clear – fight for our PTO and EIB. The proposal is a bad deal for the nurses at Kadlec. Given an infusion of millions of dollars from Providence to Kadlec, increases in patient census, high patient acuity and increased demands on nurses every day, Kadlec desire to take away time for vacation, sick leave and long-term sick leave (EIB) is difficult to understand. Yet the WSNA negotiation team comes to the negotiation table every time with hopes of resolving these negotiations through good faith bargaining.
The WSNA-represented nurses at Kadlec will be holding two meetings on Dec. 7 with additional meetings on Dec 8 to discuss next steps, including a potential Advisory Vote by members on the possibility of a strike. While we do not want to reach that point, the WSNA bargaining team has heard loud and clear from members that management’s proposal to take nearly $1 million Per Year in Paid Time Off and the Extended Illness Bank is not something that the Bargaining Unit wants. It is critical that our members have the opportunity at this juncture to discuss and weigh in on potential next steps.