Press Release

WSNA wins strong tentative agreement at PeaceHealth Southwest

Wages, illness banks, increased premiums among significant gains

Swwmc group

May 29, 2024 – The Washington State Nurses Association has reached a tentative agreement with PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center on a new contract after over four months of bargaining. The agreement was reached Tuesday night after 18 negotiating sessions.

WSNA represents about 1,465 nurses at PeaceHealth Southwest. The tentative agreement will be voted on by the membership on June 6.

The tentative agreement includes hourly wage increases of up to 18.4% over two years, including an average 10.3% bump for inpatient nurses after contract ratification. Wages across the bargaining unit will increase another 4% on the first full pay period after March 1, 2025. This includes the highest first-year and second-year wage increase ever included in the WSNA PeaceHealth Southwest contract and makes its nurses some of the highest paid in the state.

“These were long and tough negotiations, but thanks to the solidarity shown by the nurses at PeaceHealth Southwest, we emerged with a contract that is good for our members and good for patient care,” said Jeryl Anderson, a negotiating team member. “Our bargaining team and nurse observers sacrificed their days off for nearly five months to show management how much this mattered, and that teamwork helped us weather the storm.”

On April 18, the WSNA nurses at PeaceHealth held an informational picket that drew about 1,000 nurses and supporters.

“The informational picket was an amazing demonstration of how much Vancouver supports our nurses,” said Talitha Wilson, another negotiating team member. “It showed that the community recognizes our value, and we think that helped management recognize it too.”

Home health and hospice nurses will receive average increases of up to 6.5% after ratification and another 4% on March 1, 2025. Clinic nurses’ base hourly rate will increase by $3/hour upon ratification, and Nurse Practitioner pay will increase by 5% at that time, with both receiving the 4% bump in March 2025.

Nurses fought back attempts by management to eliminate Earned Illness Banks, which cover longer-term illnesses. They also successfully defended nurse practitioners from management’s attempts to carve them out of the contract entirely. Other gains include increased premiums for nurses working night shifts, placed on standby/on call, and those who are floated to a unit outside of their regular assignment.

Stronger charge nurse language includes incentives to place the most qualified nurses on charge, a new training program, a hiring process that gives nurses a voice in charge nurse selection, and a $4 per hour premium for charge nurses.

The tentative agreement also strengthens policies around safety and workplace violence and gives nurses additional time off if needed to recover from an incident of violence as well as an exemption from caring for a patient or family that has committed an act of violence against the nurse.

Numerous other provisions strengthen nurses’ voice and protections in the workplace. The bargaining team has recommended a “yes” vote.