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Seattle-King County Jail Health Staff Mandatory Overtime Settlement


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.