Press release

With Tacoma General failing to address dangerous, chronic understaffing, RNs head back to bargaining table Nov. 15

Management’s deceptive “bargaining summary” prompts new Unfair Labor Practice charge

TACOMA—(Nov. 14, 2016) The WSNA-represented nurses at Tacoma General Hospital head back into mediation tomorrow demanding that the hospital address the severe, chronic staffing concerns that imperil patient safety at the hospital.

“The situation and working conditions at Tacoma General are flat-out unsafe,” said Christine Himmelsbach, WSNA Assistant Executive Director for Labor Relations. “Registered Nurses felt forced to take a stand in the face of years of chronic, endemic understaffing perpetuated by Tacoma General Hospital management.”

The “No Voluntary Overtime, No Voluntary Extra Shifts” job action, which started Nov. 10, is having an impact, with nurses reporting receiving hundreds of text messages over the weekend begging them to come in. WSNA is calling on Tacoma General management to come to tomorrow’s mediation ready to address the staffing issues raised by the nurses.

Tomorrow’s bargaining session, with a federal mediator, will be held at La Quinta Inn, 1425 E 27th St, Tacoma.

Tacoma General RN bargaining team members, WSNA President Jan Bussert, RN, and WSNA Assistant ED of Labor Christine Himmelsbach, MN, RN, will be available to talk to the media after 3 p.m. Nov. 15.

MultiCare Tacoma General management continues to behave unlawfully in negotiations. Management’s “summary” of negotiations, sent to nurses on November 10, is so deceptive that WSNA filed yet another Unfair Labor Practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board, bringing total charges against Tacoma General to date up to 24. Region 19 of the NLRB has found merit in five of the charges so far and will prosecute the cases against Tacoma General. Among other things, the deceptive summary offers nurses money they are already owed, demands that that they accept illegal changes to working conditions, glosses over a submarket wage and benefit offer, and—most importantly—completely ignore staffing conditions that are putting patients and nurses at risk.

WSNA has set up a hotline for Tacoma General RNs concerned about patient safety and is encouraging nurses to document health and safety violations for potential regulatory complaint. WSNA represents approximately 730 Registered Nurses at Tacoma General Hospital. This will be the 15th bargaining session. Additional background information is included in the WSNA press release dated 11-7-2016.

The Tacoma General RNs are on Facebook at


About WSNA 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.

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