Nurses at the bedside know that staffing levels have reached crisis levels due to burnout, moral injury and hospitals’ failure to take action to retain nurses. But even before the pandemic, so many of us were stretched to the limit, forced to take too many patients and work long shifts without a break. We need more than a quick fix – we need action to ensure safe staffing now and in the future.
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The Tentative Agreement includes many significant improvements, including much needed wage increases and a $750 ratification bonus. While agreeing to the PTO restructuring was necessary in order to get a deal, we fought tooth and nail to ensure that the new PTO system was as fair as possible. The TA reduces sick time but increases the amount of unrestricted time available to nurses. We secured caps that are consistent with market comparables and bargained for the right to cash out up to 164 hours of PTO each year so that nurses who exceed PTO caps will not lose the right to accrue PTO. We also fought right up to the last minute to win the right to use “supplemental benefits” (the ability to use PTO or sick leave to “top off” PFML benefits) so that nurses can actually afford to use PFML benefits. Your team is confident that, thanks to all of your support and engagement, we bargained the very best contract possible.
A total of 11.75% over three years (6.75%-2%-3%): Nurses will receive a significant wage increase of 6.75% immediately, plus 2% effective Nov. 1, 2022, and 3% effective Nov. 1, 2023. Art. 7.
Ratification bonus: Nurses will receive a ratification bonus of $750 pro-rated based on FTE (.9 FTE nurses will receive the full amount and per diems will be treated as a .2 FTE).
Three-year contract: The contract will last through October 2024, enabling the parties to focus on getting through this difficult time rather than negotiations, while ensuring competitive wage increases.
Changes to PTO: Vacation and sick time will now be combined into PTO. Total sick time will decrease from approximately 96 to 52 hours for a 1.0 FTE, while holiday + vacation combined increased by 16 hours at every accrual level, meaning that there will now be 16 additional hours of unrestricted leave. And, as noted below, your team fought hard against drastic takeaways on PTO, like low accrual caps and “use it or lose it” system.
PTO cash out: Fought hard against the Hospital’s “use it or lose it” PTO proposal. Won the right to cash out up to 164 hours of PTO every year, which will help to ensure that nurses will not stop accruing PTO if they’re unable to take time away from work.
Supplemental leave: Fought hard to win the right to use “supplemental benefits” – allowing RNs to “top off” the PFML benefits received from the state with their own sick leave or PTO so that the nurse can be made truly whole while out on a family or medical leave.
Increased night shift differential: Won a $.50 increase to night shift differential, from $4.25 to $4.75. Art. 8.1.
Increased charge nurse premium: Won a $.25 increase to charge nurse premium, from $2.75 to $3.00. Art. 8.2.
Per Diem nurses: Management pushed hard for increased availability requirements for per diems, but your team maintained the requirement that per diems must be available for two shifts per month. Art. 5.7.
Workplace violence prevention: New language ensuring workplace violence prevention, including anti-retaliation language for making reports of workplace violence. Requires signage on each unit stating the Hospital’s No Tolerance for Violence Policy.
Nurse Staffing Committee: The Hospital agreed to language allowing WSNA to appoint nurses to the Nurse Staffing Committee, that the WSNA Local Unit Chair will develop meeting agendas and obligating the CEO to attend staffing committee meetings semiannually.
Benefits: Dental benefit increased from $1,500 to $2,000 per year; vision benefit increased from $400 to $600 per year. Maintained premiums for the basic plan. Premium for employee-only buy-up plan increased by $10/month, and premium for dependents for buy-up plan increased from 25% to 30%. Art. 13.3.
Successorship: The Hospital has agreed to provide WSNA with 90 days’ notice of an impending sale or merger and to meet to discuss the impact of the change.
Remember that you must be a MEMBER in good standing to VOTE!
If you find yourself in a situation that you believe creates unsafe conditions for patients or for you, you should complete a Staffing Complaint / ADO Form as soon as possible.
By completing the form, you will help make the problem known to management, creating an opportunity for the problem to be addressed. Additionally, you will be documenting the facts, which may be helpful to you later if there is a negative outcome.
WSNA also uses your ADO forms to track the problems occurring in your facility. When you and your coworkers take the important step of filling out an ADO form, you are helping to identify whether there is a pattern of unsafe conditions for you or your patients at your facilities. This information is used by your conference committee, staffing committee, and WSNA labor staff to improve your working conditions.
If called into a meeting with management, read the following to management when the meeting begins:
If this discussion could in any way lead to my being disciplined or terminated, I respectfully request that my union representative be present at this meeting. Without representation present, I choose not to participate in this discussion.