Strategic priority — membership growth and engagement

This story was published in the Spring-Summer 2021 issue of The Washington Nurse magazine.

This story appears in Biennial Report of Achievements.

As the leading voice for regis­tered nurses in Washington state, we strive to engage and grow our member­ship in all arenas.

Achievements #

  • Won strong contracts at Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane and Kadlec Regional Medical Center in Richland through organizing, engage­ment and statewide unity with other unions.
  • WSNA Member Ingrid Anderson stepped up to run for State Senate in the 5th legisla­tive district — running an outstanding campaign and earning the endorse­ment of Governor Inslee. Ingrid fell 57 votes shy of securing this seat, but we are so proud of her for the campaign she ran during this most unusual election year while also serving as a nurse in her commu­nity hospital.
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On July 26, 2019, WSNA members from Sacred Health and Kadlec joined other Providence health care workers, labor allies and community supporters for a rally at Providence Headquarters in Renton.

Major contract wins at Providence facilities fueled by union solidarity and member engagement #

The growing corpo­rate influ­ence in health care has been a top concern for our members for a number of years. More and more, our hospi­tals are merging or creating affil­i­a­tion agree­ments with large health systems in our state.

In 2018 and 2019, Provi­dence Health & Services, the largest health care provider in Washington state, came to negoti­ating tables across its entire five-state region with a mission to slash sick time and PTO benefits, and gut health insur­ance stability.

In 2019, WSNA, SEIU Health­care 1199NW, UFCW 21 and OPEIU Local 8, repre­senting a total of 20,000 health care workers at facil­i­ties across the state, created the Provi­dence United Coali­tion to support each other and jointly hold execu­tives account­able for solutions at our many bargaining tables. We knew that we needed to stand together to go up against a corpo­ra­tion like Providence.

WSNA had been in tough negoti­a­tions for a new contract at Kadlec Regional Medical Center since September 2018 and at Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane since November 2018.

Kadlec and Sacred Heart nurses each held rallies early in 2019; in May, they joined in a Unity Picket held simul­ta­ne­ously in Spokane and Richland. WSNA members at both hospi­tals brought their nurses together and spread the word through the media; eventu­ally, they began preparing to go on strike. They would have been the first WSNA strikes since the Kadlec nurses’ strike of 1993.

On July 26, 2019, WSNA members from Sacred Health and Kadlec joined Provi­dence health care workers repre­sented by SEIU 1199 and UFCW 21, labor allies and commu­nity supporters for a rally at Provi­dence Headquar­ters in Renton. We brought our message directly to multi-million­aire execu­tives because managers in local Provi­dence facil­i­ties refused to address urgent problems including workplace and patient safety concerns, cuts to sick time and paid time off, and compet­i­tive benefits and wages to recruit and retain nurses.

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Kadlec Regional Medical Center nurses Ryan Rosenkranz, Adam Halvorsen and Emily Klug joined the rally in Renton on July 26, 2019 (left). Nurses at the Kadlec Regional Medical Center strike authorization vote on Oct. 29-30, 2019 (center). With a tentative agreement in hand, Sacred Heart Medical Center nurses held a vigil on Jan. 8, 2020 to support UFCW 21 and SEIU 1199NW Providence workers who had yet to reach agreements (right).

Provi­dence responded by making an unimpres­sive state­ment to the media that the most effec­tive venue for discussing labor contracts is at the local bargaining tables,” and We have full confi­dence that our local leaders, who are bargaining these contracts, have presented strong pay and benefits packages that are aligned with our values and advance our commit­ment to creating an excep­tional work experi­ence for our caregivers.”

After a powerful organizing campaign, WSNA members at both Kadlec and Sacred Heart voted to autho­rize strikes in late October 2019. It took many more weeks of tough bargaining, excep­tional solidarity and unity with SEIU 1199 and UFCW 21 before we reached agreements.

By mid-November 2019, 15,000 nurses and other healthcare workers at Providence-owned hospitals across the state had voted to authorize strikes.

On Dec. 9, 2019, Kadlec nurses ratified a contract that preserved PTO accruals and caps for all current nurses, enhanced staffing and workplace violence language and included wage increases of 10% over the life of the contract plus a ratifi­ca­tion bonus.

On Jan. 16, 2020, Sacred Heart nurses ratified a contract that included no takeaways on Paid Time Off and Earned Illness Time, no changes to short-term disability, ratifi­ca­tion bonuses that captured full retro pay, wage increases of 10% for the duration of the contract and enforce­able language on staffing and workplace safety.

Our unified work to win great contracts across the entire Provi­dence system in Washington state provides a model for taking on large health systems.

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Unity commitment announced for patient care and safety by three unions at Providence #

On Dec. 10, 2019, the three unions repre­senting Provi­dence workers announced a unity commit­ment. More…

Key dates #

SEPT. 12, 2018 — First bargaining session at Kadlec.

NOV. 5, 2018 — First bargaining session at Sacred Heart.

FEB. 25, 2019 — Sacred Heart nurses rally at River­front Park in Spokane, drawing 200 nurses in near-freezing temper­a­tures to demand a contract that keeps nurses and patients safe.

MARCH 15, 2019 — Kadlec nurses rally for a fair contract at John Dam Plaza Park in Richland to demand a contract that keeps nurses and patients safe.

MAY 9, 2019 — Simul­ta­neous Unity Pickets at both Sacred Heart and Kadlec draw hundreds of nurses and their supporters.

JULY 26, 2019- Sacred Heart and Kadlec nurses join SEIU 1199NW, UFCW21, OPEIU Local 8, labor partners and commu­nity supporters at a Rally for Patients Before Profits” at the corpo­rate headquar­ters of Provi­dence in Renton.

AUG. 22, 2019 — Sacred Heart and Kadlec nurses join statewide Provi­dence Unions Day of Action with sticker up” campaign.

OCT. 24 – 25, 2019 — Nurses at Sacred Heart vote to autho­rize a strike.

OCT. 29 – 30, 2019 — Nurses at Kadlec vote to autho­rize a strike.

NOV. 10, 2019 — Nurses at Sacred Heart and Kadlec write open letters to their commu­ni­ties in their local newspa­pers (The Spokesman-Review in Spokane and the Tri-City Herald in Kennewick).

NOV. 25, 2019 — The Kadlec bargaining team reaches a tenta­tive agree­ment with management.

DEC. 9, 2019 — Kadlec nurses vote to ratify their contract.

DEC. 10, 2019 — WSNA, UFCW 21 and SEIU 1199NW made a Unity Commit­ment to fight for patient safety. The essence of the commit­ment is, If you take on one of us, you take on all of us.”

DEC. 18, 2019 — Top officers and member leaders from WSNA, UFCW 21 and SEIU 1199NW meet with Governor Inslee to express their concerns.

JAN. 3, 2020 — After ongoing discus­sions, three unions (WSNA, UFCW 21 and SEIU 1199NW) repre­senting 13,000 health care workers at Provi­dence hospi­tals throughout Washington agreed to pause plans to announce a strike during marathon negotiations.

JAN. 7, 2020 — The Sacred Heart bargaining team reaches a tenta­tive agree­ment with management.

JAN. 8, 2020 — WSNA and UFCW 21 hold a Candle­light Vigil for Patient Safety and a Fair Contract in Spokane.

JAN. 16, 2020 — Sacred Heart nurses vote to ratify their contract.

Biennial Report of Achievements

Strategic priority - association vitality

Much of our work in this arena is behind the scenes: strengthening operations and infrastructure. In 2020, the WSNA Board of Directors added a focus on addressing issues of diversity, equity and inclusion in our organization and our work.

Strategic priority - quality and safety

At its core, our work is about promoting behaviors and practices that positively impact the safety of registered nurses and patients and lead to improved quality outcomes for all residents of Washington. After the coronavirus pandemic hit our state, much of our focus was on ensuring the safety of nurses and their patients.

Strategic priority - nursing practice

As the professional association for more than 100,000 registered nurses who live and work in Washington state, we are always working to advance nursing practice and ensure nurses’ ability to practice to the full extent of their training and education.