WSNA recently won a signif­i­cant settle­ment with Washington State Labor & Indus­tries and King County over manda­tory overtime violations.

Two Public Health King County Correc­tional Facility (KCCF) RNs brought forward complaints about manda­tory overtime viola­tions in early 2017. During the subse­quent L&I inves­ti­ga­tion, 17 additional alleged viola­tions were found. King County requested to go to media­tion to resolve the issues, to which L&I agreed. WSNA agreed to partner with L&I to assist in creating a settle­ment compli­ance agreement.

We held two media­tion sessions and were able to come to a mutually agree­able resolu­tion. Allison Marshall, RN, attended one and Stuart Hanney, BSN, RN, attended both. L&I and WSNA are thankful for their invalu­able assis­tance and for stepping forward. From now on, this will ensure that systems are in place that are trans­parent to all nurses, super­vi­sors and managers in Jail Health Services in Public Health; train­ings will be regularly held for all; and policies and proce­dures about manda­tory overtime have been updated, clari­fied and include The Law Restricting Manda­tory Overtime for Nurses.

SOME HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Removal of disci­pli­nary action and letter of expec­ta­tion against one of the nurses. 
  • Because there was a chronic staffing shortage at the time the complaints were filed, the law did not allow for nurses to be mandated. Reason­able efforts to obtain staff prior to mandating nurses were not being followed per RCW 49.28.130.
  • King County agreed to pay a fine of $10,000 and the full cost of mediation. 

Since then, manage­ment has done much to mitigate short staffing, including starting a residency program, standard­izing precepting and orien­ta­tion with one super­visor, tracking new hire orien­ta­tions, posting LPN positions, has gained additional FTEs through King County Council approval, and is currently assessing Standard Work Processes. WSNA nurses are more involved than ever, partic­i­pating in the KCCF and Maleng Regional Justice Center (MRJC) Nurse Sched­uling Task Force meetings, the Nurse Labor-Manage­ment Commit­tees at KCCF and MRJC, the Standard Work Process commit­tees and much more. An engaged union nurse work force can and will make a differ­ence for all.