Partial closure of S. 3rd Street as nurses rally for “Patients before Profits”
TACOMA -- (June 15, 2016) Hundreds of nurses and community members are expected at an informational picket for the 730+ registered nurses at MultiCare Tacoma General on June 27, from 2-7 p.m. (speakers and rally from 4-5 p.m.)
In the ramp-up to the “Patients before Profits” picket, WSNA is airing hundreds of TV commercials, advertising on social media, and distributing information to thousands of community members and fellow labor unions.
The WSNA-represented nurses at Tacoma General have been fighting to ensure safe patient care. They are fighting at the bargaining table to make sure Registered Nurses have what they need to give the safe, high quality care their community of patients should be able to expect, and they are fighting in the courts to ensure nurses get their much-needed and legally-mandated rest breaks.
MultiCare Tacoma General is defying an arbitrator’s order to stop using so-called “break buddies,” which temporarily double a nurse’s patient load while their colleague goes on break, and MultiCare has taken the unusual step of petitioning in federal court to have the decision overturned.
Contract negotiations, which have been going on since December 2015, have been marked by numerous Unfair Labor Practice complaints by WSNA. The 10th and 11th bargaining sessions are scheduled for June 28 and July 7.
Key issues at the negotiating table include:
- Safe Staffing: Without adequate staffing, nurses can’t give their patients the attention they require. With one of the healthiest profit margins in the business – averaging 12.6% between 2009 and 2013 – Tacoma General can afford to give its patients the safe nurse staffing they deserve.
- Real rest breaks: Tacoma General is defying an arbitrators order by insisting on continuing to use “break buddies” to cover rest breaks. The truth is, expecting a nurse to take a double patient load – even for only 15 minutes – is not safe.
- Wages and benefits that recruit and retain good nurses: Tacoma General will not be able to meet their staffing needs without recruiting and retaining good nurses. That takes competitive wages and benefits.
WSNA is the leading voice and advocate for nurses in Washington state, providing union representation and trainings that allow nurses to reach their full professional potential and focus on caring for patients. WSNA represents more than 17,000 registered nurses who provide care in hospitals, clinics, schools and community and public health settings across the state. For more than 100 years, WSNA has championed issues that support nurses, advance professional standards and improve the health of individuals and families in Washington.