Seattle / King County Public Health - Staff

PHN updates!

WSNA Local Unit Chair Paul Kunkel, MN, RN, and I met with members of management this week to discuss plans and progress in layoffs and work design affecting CHS Parent Child Health and WIC staff.

Management is in the process of forming Implementation Work Groups. Members of these teams will be instrumental in figuring out the details of how and where work is done at Public Health Centers, on Regional Teams, and in the Community Support Program.

We have addressed our concern that these teams are made up of nurses who are best able to bring a range of views and experience. Management has agreed to consider WSNA recommendations for Implementation Teams.

If you are interested in being on one of these teams please let Sue O’Donnell, WSNA Nurse Representative, know by Monday June 10 at 9 a.m., sodonnell@wsna.org or by phone at 206-575-7979, ext. 3045.

As a reminder – management is asking for interested staff to apply for a place on the Implementation Teams by tomorrow, June 7 at 5 pm. If you are considering this - by all means go ahead and apply! And – let me know if you are interested as well.

In Solidarity;

For Your Local Unit Officers –Sue O’Donnell MSN, RN, WSNA Nurse Representative

Update on layoffs and restructure for PHNs

WSNA Local Unit Chair, Paul Kumnkel, and WSNA Nurse Representatives Sue O’Donnell and Hanna Welander met with Doreen Hersh and other members of Sea King Public Health management on Tuesday afternoon, May 21, 2019.

The meeting provided a good opportunity for both management and WSNA to share information and address issues around PHN layoffs and work restructure.

The County is actively working to decrease PHN layoffs through Voluntary Separation and by filling positions left open due to VSP. They are also encouraging PHNs to consider and apply for Nurse Supervisor positions and other open PHN positions.

Layoff – Highlights:

The number of layoffs of PHNs has decreased from 15 to 5.

The county is hopeful they will be able to reduce this number further. They cannot guarantee that no nurses will be laid off – but they are hoping this happens. Again, the reduction in the number of predicted layoffs is due to the following:

  • Voluntary Separation
    • Every position left vacant by VSP must prevent position layoffs. Nurses still have until June 28 to apply for VSP.
  • Two PHSS positions
    • The County is encouraging PHNs to consider applying for these openings. Management has committed to providing mentorship and additional assistance and support for staff nurses moving into supervisory roles. They see a great career opportunity for interested nurses.
  • One Open NFP position.

We have not identified any programs exempted from current layoff language.

We continue to look at how nurses in the North and South Sectors will be affected.

Work Restructure - Highlights

PHNs have told WSNA that that they do not feel their voices and concerns are being heard by management. Management acknowledged those concerns during our meeting and have committed to being available to nurses to hear and address concerns and to include nurses in the upcoming and ongoing work redesign process. To that end…

Implementation Teams are forming soon. The county plans to have three Implementation work groups. One for each of the following:

  1. Public Health Centers – 7 full-time sites delivering First Step/WIC services.
  2. Mobile Teams – 4 mobile teams. The county says they will soon know the geographical areas each team will cover.
  3. Community Support Program – The county plans to have 2 PHNs working in these programs. These positions are not included in the current plans/numbers for reducing PHN layoffs.

We have not determined yet how many PHNs will be on each of the implementation teams, and we are working with management to define the process for selecting PHNs to participate. Implementation teams will work to determine how work “gets done” in each program. If you are interested in being on one of these teams, please look for communication from management. Also – please notify WSNA Nurse Rep. Sue O’Donnell at 206-575-7979, ext. 3045 or sodonnell@wsna.org.

Moving forward - the county plans the following:

Implementation Teams

Continued meetings at each site throughout the process. Possibly hold focus groups

VSP determinations

Layoff Notices – if needed - end of July/early August

Fall 2019 – staffing for each site determined – staff will select work program/site. We continue to negotiate with the county about how this process will occur. We will continue to represent your interests during this time.

WSNA moving forward:

We have met with Site Reps, held phone conferences and put an online survey up for nurses in the programs whose work is being restructured. We need to hear from nurses, so we can address your concerns and represent your interests. We will continue to meet with management throughout the process and will continue to seek your input. Please check your emails and the WSNA Sea King Staff webpage often. https://www.wsna.org/union/seattle-king-county-health-dept-staff,

PHNs – please talk to your to site reps, your WSNA Officers and contact Sue O’Donnell with your input, questions or concerns.

Questions? Contact Sue O’Donnell at 206-575-7979, ext. 3045 or sodonnell@wsna.org.

PHN Update

As you are aware, the county is continuing with its plans for redesigning components of Women’s and Infants Services. Ultimately their plan will result in restructuring how public health services are delivered in the community, and the layoff of some PHNs.

Your local unit chair, Paul Kunkel, and I have had two meetings with management to date to address and identify the repercussions of their proposals and nurses’ protections under your current WSNA contract.

Last week WSNA officers and I met as a group with PHN Site Representatives to identify and address some of the questions and concerns PHN nurses have about this work redesign and layoff.

We want to make sure that nurses’ voices are heard and their years of experience as experts in the field of public health are recognized in this process.

We heard that nurses are not feeling they have been included in Management’s processes, are not clear why layoffs are happening and do not know how they will be affected – individually, department wide, and community wide.

Here is what we know from our communications with management:

The county continues to plan for reduction in staff. Layoffs won’t go into effect until 12/31/2019. Between now then there is a lot of work to be done – and a lot of unknowns.

Initially, there were 15 PHN positions slotted for layoff. It is likely there will be fewer nurses laid off as eligible nurses apply for and are granted VSP. Also, management has indicated there may be Nursing Supervisor positions opening up as a result of VSP. Management has committed to looking at internal candidates who may be affected by layoff to fill these open positions.

Of the 15 positions originally slated for layoff It is now looking like there may be fewer than 10 nurses facing layoff. BUT – it remains to be seen how many nurses will seek VSP or leave employment for other reasons, etc., between now and the time layoff notices go out. And – there is a considerable amount of time between layoff notifications being sent and layoff actually happening (12/31/2019). A lot can happen in the meantime.

WSNA Officers and Nursing Representative are working with management to determine:

  • How and where work gets done with the redesigned system
  • Where nurses in the affected programs will work – e.g on a mobile team, at a fixed site? If fixed - at which fixed site?
  • The process and timelines for bumping into another nurses’ position if a nurse is laid off

The current contract describes nurses’ rights in the event of a layoff. Article 17 describes these rights.

Options include accepting a vacant position, bumping into another nurses’ position, accepting layoff and being placed on a recall roster. Layoff is determined by seniority and geographical location.

At this time we have not agreed on exempting any programs from the bumping process. On May 21, WSNA Officers and SeaKing Nurse Representative will be meeting with Doreen Hersh to discuss details of the proposed layoff. Look for a communication from us following that meeting.

Additionally, members of WSNA Leadership plan to meet with Patty Hayes, PHN Director, to address nursing’s interests in these changes to the delivery of public health services.

If you are a CHS nurse, please watch your email for the link to a survey that will help your officers and me get a better idea of what you need from us.

We have also scheduled conference calls on Saturday, May 18 at 10 a.m. and Monday, May 20 at 7 p.m. for the CHS nurses. Call in numbers are included in the email containing your survey link. This email may end up in your junk folder, so please check there.

If you have questions please contact me at the number/email below.

Thank you!

Sue O’Donnell, WSNA Nurse Representative
206-575-7979, ext.3045

Results of public health nurses meeting

Nurse Representatives from WSNA attended the county’s PHN meeting on Thursday, April 4.

During this meeting management rolled out their proposals for restructuring PHN Care Models in Women’s and Infants programs. The details of the proposed changes have not been completely determined, but it is clear that PHN nurses working in these programs will be impacted. Effects may include changes to work processes, including work sites and schedules, as well as layoff.

The County’s current plan includes layoff of up to 15 WSNA PHN nurses, although that number has not been finalized. The county is offering its Voluntary Separation Program to eligible nurses. If eligible nurses receive VSP, the number of layoffs will decrease.

The time line provided at the April 4 meeting included submission of VSP applications from mid-April on, with determination of eligibility In June/July. Layoff notifications are to be sent following VSP determinations.

It is possible that PHN nurses working in other programs, and other WSNA represented RN positions, will receive layoff notifications.

Layoffs would be effective Dec. 31, 2019.

Management has been meeting with PHN nurses this week. Meetings will continue into May. WSNA will be attending the meeting Monday, April 15 at the downtown clinic.

We also plan to meet with management next week for a preliminary discussion of the effects of their proposed changes. We will update you following that meeting.

Questions? Please contact WSNA Nurse Representative Sue O’Donnell MSN, RN at sodonnell@wsna.org or 206-575-7979 ext. 3045.

In Solidarity,
Sue O’Donnell, WSNA Nurse Representative on behalf of your Local Unit Officers

Notice of public health nurses meeting

WSNA has been notified of an important meeting taking place tomorrow with members of county management and employees working in
Parent Child Health Programs, including WSNA represented nurses.

Patty Hayes has invited WSNA nurse representatives to attend this meeting.

We plan to be there.

If you have questions, please contact WSNA Nurse Representative
Sue O’Donnell at sodonnell@wsna.org or 206-575-7979, ext.3045.

The Shared Staffing Memorandum of Agreement is ratified!

Thanks to all of you that came to vote on the Shared Staffing Memorandum of Agreement (MOA). The MOA was ratified by an overwhelming majority of voters.

To access the MOA and the attachments, you can find it under the Contracts/Documents tab.

For any questions, please contact Sue O'Donnell at sodonnell@wsna.org or Hanna Welander at hwelander@wsna.org.

Vote on the Shared Staffing Memorandum of Agreement

WSNA and PTE Local 17 have met jointly with management to bargain the impact of deploying clinic-based Community Health Services PHNs to designated sister sites. This is to provide WIC and First Steps services to clients coming to the 10 CHS clinics and, more importantly, to avoid layoffs due to the decreases in clinic visits. The deployments will first be voluntary. If there are no volunteers, deployment will then be by least seniority. The negotiating team sought to lessen the impact and provide transparency about the process to everyone. The details of this proposed Shared Staffing are located under the Contract & Documents tab, under Shared Staffing Documents.

Your negotiation team members will be available to answer questions at each vote.

Votes will be held at the following dates and times:

  • Jan. 8, 2019, 5-8 p.m. at Eastgate Public Health, Conf. Rm. A (side door), 14350 SE Eastgate Way, Bellevue, WA 98007
  • Jan. 9, 2019, 5-8 p.m. at the WSNA office, 575 Andover Park W, Suite 101, Tukwila, WA 98188
  • Jan. 10, 2019, noon-3 p.m., in Conf. Room 120 (first floor) at the Chinook Building, 401 5th Ave., Seattle, WA 98104
  • Jan. 10, 2019, 5-7:45 p.m., North Public Health in Room 110, 10521 Meridian Ave. N, Seattle WA 98133

Questions? Contact WSNA Resource Nurse Specialist Hanna Welander at hwelander@wsna.org or Nurse Representative Sue O’Donnell at sodonnell@wsna.org.

Announcing change in WSNA nurse representative

Please help welcome Sue O’Donnell, MSN, RN as your new WSNA nurse representative. Beginning Monday, Dec. 3, 2018, Sue will be taking over all new issues as they arise at Public Health, Seattle-King County and Juvenile Detention. Sue and I will be working together to make this a seamless transition. I am confident that you will be well represented by Sue, who has many years of experience as a nurse representative. I will finish all outstanding issues until they are concluded.

Sue can be reached at sodonnell@wsna.org or 206-575-7979, ext. 3045.

It has been a pleasure working with all of the LPNs, RNs, PHNs, APNSs and ARNPs for the last seven years. I have taken a new position as Resource Nurse Specialist, working with all of the nurse representatives in providing resources and support for the important work that they do with you every day. I will miss seeing the energy and commitment you have shown and continue to show to make your workplace better over the years.

All my best to you,

Hanna K. Welander, BSN, RN
WSNA Resource Nurse Specialist
206-575-7979, ext. 3035

ARNP Continuing Education Funds passes!

With an overwhelming majority, the bargaining unit has ratified the memorandum of agreement regarding ARNP continuing education funds. This is very good news for our Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioners!

Now is the time to begin requesting funding for your continuing education from management!

For any questions, please contact me, WSNA Nurse Rep Hanna Welander, at hwelander@wsna.org.

Important news about health care benefits negotiations!

WSNA is a member of the Joint Labor-Management Insurance Committee. Bargaining health care benefits with other JLMIC Unions, we have reached a tentative agreement regarding health care benefits for 2019-2020 through the county. There are several positive changes and no takeaways, beginning January 1, 2019.

Health care premiums: Zero premium cost-share will be imposed upon you. Increases, projected to be 5.5% in 2019, will be paid from the Protected Fund Reserve.

Vision Plan Enhancement: Hardware (frames and contact lenses) allowance will increase to $200 every 24 months, up from $130 every 24 months.

Copays apply to out-of-pocket maximum: Emergency room and prescription copays will apply to out-of-pocket maximum; emergency room out-of-network copay will be $100, same as in-network copay.

Early retiree subsidy will return: This will be reinstated as follows for JLMIC-eligible employees who retire from county service:

  • You must meet the county’s definition of retirement;
  • You will retire in 2019-2020;
  • If you retired prior to 2019 and have not had a lapse in medical coverage;
  • Retiree is not eligible for Medicare.

The Early-Retiree subsidy rate will be calculated as follows: The difference between the COBRA rate and unsubsidized Kaiser Retiree and Spouse medical premium rate. Early retirees can apply the subsidy to any available plan (HMO or PPO) and for appropriate plan tier: Retiree only, Retiree and Spouse, Retiree and Child(ren), Retiree and Full Family.

Short-term disability (STD) improvement: This is 100% employee paid. There will be a 14-day waiting period and the benefit period is 90 days. The benefit amount is 60% of salary up to $1,500 maximum weekly benefit. You may now sign up for STD at any time during your employment and there is a 60-day benefit waiting period for sickness and pregnancy claims. The 60-day waiting period applies within the first 12 months of being insured. Employees are given the choice to use sick leave instead of filing for STD disability. If sick leave is used, STD will not be paid while an employee is eligible for sick leave.

Long-Term Disability (LTD) improvement: The JLMIC will fund 100% of the increased cost of the LTD plan that has an elimination period of 90 days for JLMIC eligible employees. The current plan has a 180-day elimination period. The benefit amount will be 60% of the employee’s salary, up to a maximum monthly amount of $7,200. This is an improvement of the current LTD plan which had a maximum of $6,000.

For any questions, please contact WSNA Nurse Rep Hanna Welander at hwelander@wsna.org or (206) 575-7979, ext. 3035.

Important updates

WSNA Local Unit Treasurer Appointed

Yolanda Morris has been duly appointed to serve as your local unit treasurer for the next three years. Yolanda works on the Child Care Team. Please take a moment to congratulate her for volunteering to step up and be actively involved. Yolanda joins Paul Kunkel (chair), Jane Storrs (secretary), Brenda Balogh (grievance officer) and Tami Nesler (grievance officer).

Congratulations, Yolanda!

Seeking Membership Officer to Attend New Hire Orientation

Every third Friday of the month, onboarding nurses attend the New Employee Orientation in the Chinook Building from 11:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m. Until now, the WSNA Nurse Representative has been attending. However, we want our members to reach out to other prospective members. It is important to ensure that nurses learn about the importance of union membership and their rights under the contract. If you are interested in meeting and welcoming new peers once a month, you will be given an opportunity to shadow one or more sessions, receive training materials and have fun doing it!

Please contact Local Unit Chair Paul Kunkel at pk42itus@hotmail.com or WSNA Nurse Rep Hanna Welander at hwelander@wsna.org.

Nurse recruiter vote ratified

By overwhelming majority, the bargaining unit has voted to move the nurse recruiter classification to the supervisor bargaining unit. A copy of the Memorandum of Agreement can be accessed in the contracts and documents section.

For any questions, please contact WSNA Nurse Representative Hanna Welander at hwelander@wsna.org or (206) 575-7979, ext. 3035

Announcing your new local unit officers!

Ballots have been counted and your new local unit officers have been duly elected by the WSNA membership. Take a moment to congratulate and thank them for representing you in negotiations, upholding the integrity of your contract and running your local unit.

Chairperson: Paul Kunkel
Secretary: Jane Storrs
Grievance officers: Brenda Balogh and Tami Nesler

Please also thank your outgoing officers who have dedicated the last three years as your union representatives!

Christina Enriquez, Chair
Amy Bellante, Treasurer
Kaila Tang, Grievance Officer

For any questions, please contact your WSNA nurse rep, Hanna Welander, at 206-575-7979, ext. 3035 or at hwelander@wsna.org.

Huge grievance win for Jail Health nurses!

In January 2017, Jail Health Nurses saw a sudden change in how they were paid overtime during weeks that contained holidays. Any nurse who held a 1.0 FTE and worked extra shifts during holiday weeks were always paid at the overtime rate. All of a sudden, the overtime disappeared. Because this was a unilateral change, WSNA filed a grievance.

WSNA nurses met with labor relations on April 25, 2018. We were able to demonstrate through extensive data analysis that nurses had been paid overtime for any extra shifts worked during holiday weeks prior to January 2017. By that afternoon, we had a settlement. Any nurses who were denied overtime for working extra shifts would be paid retroactively to January 1, 2017. Also, going forward, nurses that work 1.0 FTE will always be paid overtime if working extra shifts during weeks that contain holidays. Management recognized the wisdom of continuing to incentivize nurses to work extra shifts during holiday weeks. Take a moment to thank Sue Anne Brent and Brenda Balogh, RNs at KCCF, for standing up and fighting for you!

For any questions, please contact WSNA Nurse Representative Hanna Welander athwelander@wsna.org.

Mandatory overtime settlement between Washington State Labor & Industries and King County

Two nurses brought forward complaints about mandatory overtime violations in early 2017 and during the subsequent Washington State Labor & Industries (L&I) investigation, 17 additional alleged violations were found. King County requested to go to mediation to resolve the issues, to which L&I agreed. WSNA agreed to partner with L&I to assist in creating the linked settlement agreement below. We held two mediation sessions and were able to reach an agreement. Allison Marshall attended one and Stuart Hanney attended both. L&I and WSNA are thankful for their invaluable assistance and for stepping forward. From now on, this will ensure:

  • Systems are in place and are transparent to all nurses, supervisors and managers in JHS;
  • Trainings will be regularly held for all; and,
  • Policies and procedures about mandatory overtime have been updated, clarified and include The Law Restricting Mandatory Overtime for Nurses

Some highlights:

  • Removal of disciplinary action and letter of expectation against one of the nurses.
  • Because there was a chronic staffing shortage at the time the complaints were filed, the law did not allow for nurses to be mandated. Reasonable efforts to obtain staff prior to mandating nurses were not being followed per RCW 49.28.130.
  • King County agreed to pay a fine of $10,000 and the full cost of mediation.

For more, please review the full Compliance Settlement Agreement. Since then, management has done much to mitigate short staffing; starting a residency program, standardizing precepting and orientation with a supervisor, tracking new hire orientations, posting LPN positions, additional FTEs through King County Council approval and is currently assessing Standard Work Processes. WSNA nurses are more involved than ever - participating in the KCCF and MRJC Nurse Scheduling Task Force meetings, the Nurse Labor-Management Committees at KCCF and MRJC, the Standard Work Process committees and more. An engaged union nurse work force can and will make a difference for all.