Contract bargaining update

You’re not paying “the market rate” if nurses won’t work for you for the money you’re paying

Children’s insists it is paying slightly above “the market.” When Children’s refers to “the market” (at least, in bargaining), it is only referencing general acute care nurse wages in the greater Seattle-area to be its market (conveniently, it doesn’t consider Bellingham and Longview in the “market,” even though nurses in those areas make more in certain premiums and differentials, and wages as well). Here’s the thing: if you’re a hospital that has a 20% RN vacancy rate and you can’t hire or retain qualified nurses, then you’re not paying “market rate” – you’re just paying a little more than other, non-comparable hospitals who aren’t even trying to hire the same nurses that you are. A true market rate would mean that SCH is paying enough to attract specialty pediatric nurses to SCH and then to retain them.

Meanwhile, when we made our opening wage proposal of 18% immediately, 15% next year, and 12% in the third year, we considered the market the matters – that is, the children’s hospitals for which SCH nurses are leaving, such as Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford. These hospitals are SCH’s true competitors for pediatric specialty nurses. (Ironically, when Children’s CFO gave a financial presentation, she praised Children’s charity care contributions in comparison to children’s hospitals in Philadelphia, Colorado, and Texas. However, when compared to other hospitals in King County alone – “the market” for wages – Children’s charity care ranks 14 out of 21.)~

Children’s Fun Financial Fact #3

Apropos of a raise that can actually get and keep nurses at Children’s: given how extraordinarily well SCH did financially in 2021, if nurses had received an 18% raise last year, Children’s would have still made $339 million in profits!* Consider that the hospital also probably would have spent significantly less on travelers than the “tens of millions” of dollars it paid for non-employee labor from October ’21 through April ’22 alone!^

Sign to show your support!

The petitions are out! Find a bargaining team member or WSNA staff person to sign one today and demand that Children’s take safe staffing seriously by paying wages that bring the best specialty nurses to Children's and allow us to live nearby. Interested in helping deliver them to Children’s decision-makers when they’re done? Contact WSNA Organizer Tara Barnes at tbarnes@wsna.org or 206/713.2241.

Only four more bargaining dates left

Our next bargaining dates are June 16 and 30, and July 14 and 21. Our contract expires July 31. Want to get more involved, pass a petition, find out about being an observer, or discuss what’s next if the Hospital doesn’t present a fair package at bargaining? Contact any member of your bargaining team, WSNA Nurse Representative Travis Elmore Nelson at telmore@wsna.org, or WSNA Organizer Tara Barnes at tbarnes@wsna.org or 206/713.2241.

In Solidarity,
Your negotiating team: Co-Chair Edna Cortez, PACU; Co-Chair Kara Yates, Medical Unit; Grievance Officer Diane Gates, PICU; Secretary/Treasurer Lindsey Kirsch, Urgent Care; Grievance Officer Erin Doyle, PATCH; Grievance Officer Samantha Lake, Operating Room; Katie Podobnik, Ambulatory; Sarah Munro, Bellevue Surgery Center; Shaina Lawson, NICU; Stefanie Chandos, ED; Annika Hoogesteraat, CVICU

~ https://doh.wa.gov/sites/default/files/2022-03/2020CharityCareinWashingtonHospitals.pdf?uid=629fd90702e3d

*As Children’s is technically a not-for-profit endeavor, the more appropriate term is “excess of revenues over expenses.”

^As reported to the WSNA and SCH bargaining teams on May 26 by Children’s CFO Suzanne Beitel.