Dear WSNA Members,

Thank you to all the nurses who partic­i­pated in our survey regarding postponing the contrac­tual 3% raise due April 1, 2020. Many of you person­ally contacted your nurse repre­sen­ta­tive and local unit leaders. Thank you for your input. It was a tough decision to make and the survey indicated that our members felt the same way. The results of the survey were very close. We had 353 respon­dents. In the end, there were 11 more votes no” than yes”. This was not an official vote. This was a guide to help the officers who serve you decide within 7 days.

How did the officers come to the decision? On April 9, manage­ment made the request. The facts we were given at the time were the following.

  1. Due to the loss in revenue from elective surgeries and other mitiga­tion attempts to avoid the spread of the COVID-19 virus. (We were told different numbers but basically, they were facing a 33% decrease in their operating margin.)
  2. Dr. Ruther­ford had met with upper manage­ment at Conflu­ence Health. He was taking a reduc­tion in his salary, as well as all upper and middle manage­ment, MDs, PAs and ARNPs.
  3. All non-contrac­tual employees (those not repre­sented by UFCW21 and WSNA) will have their annual revues postponed until June or July. Their raises are tied to their annual revues.
  4. Other phases may include layoffs of non-clinical employees, volun­tary leaves of absence

We under­stand that many people responded to the survey but would have liked more facts, consid­ering the employee townhall with Dr. Ruther­ford, email he sent to all employees, and the press release sent out in the Wenatchee World. Some nurses contacted us with concerns about not having enough infor­ma­tion to make an informed decision. We acknowl­edge these concerns and we heard you.

So how did we come to the decision to say no at this time? We went through the following process:

  1. The officers and your nurse repre­sen­ta­tive had many conver­sa­tions starting April 11 and into the weekend.
  2. We met with our WSNA attorney and our WSNA director.
  3. We weighed our options.
    1. Just say no. We have a contract.
    2. Negotiate a tempo­rary MOU (Memorandum of Under­standing) that would require a vote of our members. This would take at least 3 weeks to turn around. In this kind of vote, only members in good standing can vote.
  4. We decided to do a quick survey of our members to check their pulse on this issue.
    1. This required a very quick turnaround.
    2. The survey was launched on Monday, April 13.
    3. Our meeting with manage­ment was sched­uled at 3:30pm on Wednesday, April 15.
    4. They needed an answer by Thursday, April 16 because that’s when the increase was to be processed.
  5. During a time when nurses are on the front line of exposure, many of our hospi­tals are agreeing to hazard pay. The hospital did not engage with us on a coali­tion MOU (Memorandum of Under­standing) with UFCW21 that would have provided a lot of protec­tions during this pandemic for our nurses. We offered this to manage­ment first on March 13 and again on March 31. Our requests were essen­tially ignored. Mid-term, they do not have an oblig­a­tion to negotiate with us but through the years, CWH has come to us with many requests that we agreed to engage with them on.
  6. They could have come to us much earlier. We would have had more time to engage with our members and help them make the decision. But we didn’t have that kind of time. It put your local leaders in a very diffi­cult position.
  7. Your WSNA officers and WSNA nurse repre­sen­ta­tive have been having weekly meetings with manage­ment since the middle of March and we continue to meet with them weekly on Mondays.
  8. Faced with the decision and given the infor­ma­tion we had, including the survey results, we decided to tell them no.
  9. This was a very heavy weighted decision and your officers looked at our options method­i­cally looking at all the reasons for either decision.

We know this has been a huge finan­cial hit, not only for CWH, but for all health­care facil­i­ties across the world. We also know that there is help from the State and Federal govern­ments. How much CWH can acquire is unknown and was not a huge factor in our decision-making process, but it was also a consid­er­a­tion.

Our goal is to work collab­o­ra­tively with manage­ment, as we have histor­i­cally. We’re all in this together.

In Solidarity,
Crystal Clabaugh, Nicholas Jackson, Lorna Sebas­tian, Stefanie Gates, Paul Stamilio, Michelle Rae, Paul Molenaar, Morgan Sisson, and Carmen Garrison