Your officers and WSNA nurse representative met with management late afternoon on April 23. We demanded to bargain with them. They had a 5 p.m. deadline to get all the names of the participants to ESD (Employment Security Department) by 5 p.m. in order for people to start getting paid by ESD starting Monday. Again, things have happened fast and WSNA was forced to make a decision. Either they negotiate the terms in an MOU or they give us 30 days’ notice for layoffs. We were able to negotiate the terms and still believe this was the best outcome for our members.
We were able to get a commitment to the process of selecting participants. They agreed to do their best to give nurses 24 hours’ notice if they are needed to work. With this program, participants do not have to be looking for work, which is one of the conditions of unemployment. Attached to that is the requirement that you work when you are asked to work. If you are sick, you can’t come in and there would be no consequences but if you say no for any other reason, unemployment will drop you. Julie McAlister and Tracey Kasnic understand that you have lives out side of work. For that reason, they committed to doing their best to give at least 24 hour notice. Is there ever going to be a time when that doesn’t happen? Probably, but it should be the exception to the rule. We want to know if that starts happening and with what frequency, we want to track it in some way. Are there going to be days when they have 3 sick calls on a unit and need help? Yes, and when that happens the participating nurses will be asked to come in. They have committed to calling in the most senior nurses first then in rotation by seniority.
Your local unit officers and nurse representative meet via conference call every Monday. In the most recent meeting on April 27, management presented us with a power point presentation that we would like to share with you.
A message from your Local Unit Chair and Co-Chair
To Our Members,
Your union officers met with hospital leadership on April 27th to discuss the implementation and logistics of the Shared Work Program and the organizations response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the coming days, you should be receiving a presentation summarizing how Confluence Health has responded to the COVID-19 pandemic, both inside our facilities, and outside, in the community; it will also explain the sources used to develop and guide PPE and isolation policy and practice.
We used our time with hospital leadership to seek answers to many of the questions we have received from nurses who are being affected by the shared work program. HR agreed to put together an FAQ available on pulse to help answer questions regarding the program and how it may affect you. We, along with HR, strongly encourage you to read and review the information provided to you regarding the program, and the information available on the Shared Work Program website, which can be found here. Most questions ought to be answered by reviewing those resources. Below are the questions asked today, and the answers received:
Q: Can I submit questions to HR regarding the Shared Work Program?
A: Yes, you are able to do so.
Q: Are those who are participating in the shared work program able to use PTO?
A: PTO is able to be used for any low census. This program does not change low census.
Q: Will full/part time nurses who are in the program receive low census to allow pool employees to work?
A: No, the Shared Work Program does not change the rules of low census as defined by our contract.
Q: Will my retirement contributions and matching remain the same?
A: No. You are only able to receive retirement matching based on money earned from Confluence Health. Compensation from unemployment benefits does not count towards retirement contributions or matching. To better understand how retirement contributions are calculated, and to learn how to maximize retirement savings during this time, we encourage you to review the summary plan description for our retirement plan, available on Pulse.
Q: I am a pool employee. Will I receive low census so that nurses from other floors can work?
A: Skills and abilities are still taken into consideration when considering floating and deciding on low census. If you believe you have received low census inappropriately, we encourage you to seek correction of the issue with your manager. If that does not lead to resolution, please reach out to us. These are unprecedented times, and there are many new wrinkles surrounding low census, which increase the likelihood of errors occurring with low census.
Q: If I am participating in the Shared Work Program, will a nurse from another floor that is not participating in the shared work program be floated to fill a need in my unit before I am called to work?
A: The answer to that question depends on the skill of the nurse who may be floated. If the nurse to be floated has the skills and abilities to fill the need, then yes, that nurse will be floated to fill the need. If the nurse does not have the skills and abilities, then nurses participating in the Shared Work Program will be contacted, on a seniority based rotation to fill the need. This practice allows the nurse from the unit not participating in the program to remain “whole” — i.e, not having to use PTO to fulfill their FTE. The Shared Work Program keeps the participants “whole” by compensating them with unemployment benefits.
Q: Was seniority taken into account when choosing nurses to participate in the shared work program?
A: Yes, however, you may notice that in some instances, a nurse with lower seniority is not on the program, versus another nurse with more seniority who was placed on the program. This is due to management not wanting to “force” nurses from day shift onto night shift.
Q: Once in the program, can you opt out?
Q: If you are not in the program, can you volunteer later to do it if your unit is doing it?
Thank you for your time reading this. Please, continue to reach out to us with issues and concerns. The more we know the more we can advocate for you!
Crystal Clabaugh & Nick Jackson
WSNA Chair & Co-Chair
If you have any questions, feel free to contact one of your officers or your WSNA nurse representative, Carmen Garrison at email@example.com.