Seattle / King County Public Health - Staff

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.

Great news: raises, bonuses, and retro are coming!

Your new WSNA contract is in process and your raises are going to be implemented as follows:

Pay raises will be effective on Nov. 16 paychecks, pay period Oct. 21 to Nov. 3.

Retro pay disbursements will be on Nov. 30 paychecks, from Jan. 1 to Oct. 20.

$650 ratification bonus will be paid on Nov. 16 paychecks.

Certification pay implementation: Kathy Skrinski in Payroll has created an application form that will be available on a shared drive or SharePoint for nurses. Dorene Hersh and Jerry DeGrieck will email instructions to all nursing staff about the process regarding certification pay.

If you had your certification as of May 1, 2017 and it is applicable to your current position, you will be eligible to receive it right away.

If you are interested in obtaining certification, before embarking on your certification requirements you must check with your supervisor and the nursing office to ensure that your certification is applicable to your current position.

The certification pay premium function will be in the payroll system on Nov. 16.

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

New Contract Ratified!

Your new contract was ratified by the majority of nurses! Thanks to all of you that took time to exercise this important right as a union member. This contract governs your hours, wages and working conditions for the next three years. The contract summary can be found here.

If you have any questions, please contact your WSNA Nurse Rep Hanna Welander at (206) 575-7979, ext. 3035 or by email at hwelander@wsna.org.

Certification Premium: If you did not have nursing certification prior to May 1, 2017, you must do this: Contact your supervisor and the Nursing Office for approval. Moving forward with certification is subject to written approval from both. The King County Council has yet to ratify this contract. We do not anticipate difficulties with this; however, this can take weeks to accomplish and has sometimes taken months.

Your Contract Summary is now online

Your Contract Summary is now online for review and can be accessed here.

Come to one of the three Contract Votes that will be held Thursday, June 8, 2017:

7-9:30 AM - North Public Health, Conference Room 213 (2nd Floor) 10521 Meridian Ave. N, Seattle WA 98133
1:15-3:30 PM - Chinook Building, Conf. Room 118, (1st Floor) 401 Fifth Avenue, Seattle WA 98104
5:30-8 PM – WSNA Office, 575 Andover Park West, Suite 101, Seattle, WA 98188

We will be present at the votes to explain the changes and to answer your questions. The WSNA Nurse Rep and attorney will also be present.

In Solidarity from your Negotiating Team,

Paul Kunkel, Vice-Chair
Jane Storrs, Secretary
Brenda Balogh, Grievance Officer


Because of workloads and short staffing, getting your rest and meal breaks may be difficult and may sometimes be impossible. Because of the barriers you are presented with and the lack of solutions offered by management, WSNA has filed a grievance. We want JHS management to create a system that ensures that all nurses can take their 15-minute rest breaks and 30-minute meal breaks.

We need your help to collect information. Please take a moment and complete this important survey by June 18th!

Contract Vote: June 8, 2017

Contract ratification votes will be held at the following times and locations:

  • 7-9:30 AM - North Public Health, Conference Room 213 (2nd Floor)
  • 1:15-3:30 PM - Chinook Building, Conf. Room 118 (1st Floor) 401 Fifth Avenue, Seattle WA 98104
  • 5:30-8 PM – WSNA Office, 575 Andover Park West, Suite 101, Seattle, WA 98188

We will be available to answer your questions about the new contract language, and redline/legislative versions of the contract will be available for review. Summaries will be posted to your website before the vote, and you will receive notice when that is available for review. The WSNA Attorney and Nurse Rep will also be there to assist with answering questions.

In Solidarity from your Negotiating Team,

Paul Kunkel, Vice-Chair
Jane Storrs, Secretary
Brenda Balogh, Grievance Officer

Tentative Agreement Reached

After TEN negotiation sessions, we have reached a tentative agreement! This includes wage increases for each year of a three-year agreement of 2.25% in the first year, 2.25% in the second year, and 2.75% in the third year; PLUS a 3% across-the-board increase for the ARNPs who were significantly under market! We were also able to increase preceptor pay to $1.50 and to implement a new certification premium of $100 per month.

We succeeded in the implementation of Paid Parental Leave on October 1, 2017. We were able to stave off FMLA and KCFML running concurrently until January 1, 2018.
If jail health nurses are mandated and have to call in sick the next day, you will no longer lose your overtime for that week.

Starting October 1, 2017, initial draft jail health schedules will come out on the first of the month instead of the 10th, which will provide more time to fill holes in the schedule. Because STTs and TLTs are members, they will have an opportunity to bid on available shifts on the initial draft schedule. We avoided significant takeaways and worked long and hard on the jail health scheduling language.

We succeeded in gaining a ratification bonus of $650.

Stay tuned for a more detailed summary and announcement of a vote date!

One of your negotiating team members had to take vacation for several days of negotiations. We will be asking for 24 hours of vacation donations to help offset the time. You can complete a vacation donation form at the vote.

In solidarity: Paul Kunkel, Brenda Balogh and Jane Storrs

Negotiation Update Session #8

Your Negotiating Team met for the 8th time with management. We are making progress and have come closer on a number of proposals.

  • The County is willing to extend Paid Parental Leave to the bargaining unit but is insisting on having King County Family Medical Leave and FMLA run concurrently, as the other unions have agreed to.
  • We are coming closer on wages, and both sides are willing to agree to a three-year agreement, which will give predictability in these uncertain times.
  • Mandatory overtime at the jails is recognized by both parties as a significant problem.
  • Nurses who called in sick after being mandated (work 16 hours in a row, report to work for next shift 8 hours later) were not receiving daily overtime. Both parties are exploring ways to rectify that.
  • Certification pay continues to be under discussion.
  • Parking fees in County-owned garages have been another hot topic and we may have some movement from the County on rates for night shift nurses.
  • Meals continue to be provided at the jails for now but may end in the future. Jail health nurses are not able to leave the facility on breaks and lunches. If meals end, the County has indicated that it is committed to ensuring that nurses have adequate access to refrigerators, microwaves, and vending machines with nutritious food.

We have another session scheduled for April 10th.

Negotiation Session #7 Update

Your WSNA Negotiating Team met for the 7th Session with the County on March 1, 2017. While we have made some progress, we are still apart on several issues.

We have proposed a three-year contract so that nurses can have some predictability in this uncertain environment. The County is agreeable to a three-year contract, but we are still apart on the amount of the wage increases. The County is willing to extend Paid Parental Leave benefits to the bargaining unit, but is proposing that KCFML run concurrently, rather than consecutively. The County has also proposed a change to jail health scheduling that would give priority to nurses picking up extra shifts at straight time over nurses picking up extra shifts at OT. We have told the County that we are not interested in such a change and that the County’s proposal would make filling holes in the schedule even more problematic.

We have scheduled two additional dates, March 15th and March 30th.

Convention 2017

Don't miss the upcoming Washington State Nurses Convention May 3-5! At Convention, we’ll be diving deep into one the top issues for registered nurses today: Creating a Culture of Safety. Register today for early bird pricing and hotel discounts (through March 30). Some local units are sponsoring attendance at Convention. Check with your local unit officers.

Update on Negotiation Session #4

Your WSNA Team met for the fourth session of bargaining. Discussion topics included scheduling changes, paid parental leave, King County Family Medical Leave, overtime, wages, and more!

These are difficult conversations, and your team hopes to keep making progress. Our next session is scheduled for January 12, 2017.

For any questions, please contact:
WSNA Nurse Rep Hanna Welander
206-575-7979, Ext. 3035

In Unity,
Paul Kunkel, Vice-Chair
Brenda Balogh, Grievance Officer
Jane Storrs, Secretary

Negotiation Update

Your Negotiating Team has met three times with management. Both parties exchanged more comprehensive proposals at the last session. Your WSNA Negotiation Team and Lead Negotiator spent a lot of time articulating the priorities of the Bargaining Unit. We were able to agree on some items but remain divided on many others. As negotiations progress, if we need your input, we will notify you promptly. The priority for your Negotiating Team is to preserve what you told us is important to you, seek gains, and avoid take-aways.

Our next negotiation date is scheduled for January 4, 2017. If you have any questions, please contact your WSNA Nurse Rep Hanna Welander at (206) 575-7979, Ext. 3035, or email hwelander@wsna.org.

Sending you wishes for a peaceful holiday season!

Paul Kunkel, WSNA Vice-Chair
Jane Storrs, WSNA Secretary
Brenda Balogh, WSNA Grievance Officer

Negotiation Session #1

Your WSNA Negotiating Team met with management for our first session on Monday, November 21, 2016. WSNA presented its initial proposal. We anticipate receiving management’s
proposal at the next session.

We meet again on December 9 and hope to make progress. Please stay tuned, and for any questions, call or email your WSNA Nurse Rep Hanna Welander at hwelander@wsna.org or (206) 575-7979, Ext. 3035.

In Unity,
Paul Kunkel
Brenda Balogh
Jane Storrs

Negotiations are fast approaching!

Your WSNA Negotiating Team is ready to go to the table and negotiate on your behalf. Our first date is November 21, 2016. Your Negotiating Team members are Paul Kunkel, Vice-Chair, from Columbia Public Health; Brenda Balogh, Grievance Officer, from KCCF; and Jane Storrs, Secretary, from DAJD Juvenile Detention. This is an awesome team with great representation of our Membership.

Thanks to all of you that submitted answers to the survey. This information is vital and is used to establish priorities for your team as we move forward in gaining a successor agreement.

Your contract specifies that only two members of the negotiating team are paid and the third has to take vacation. Therefore, vacation donations will gladly be accepted again. The Vacation Donation Form can be downloaded. Feel free to send the completed form directly to Kathy Skrinski in King County Payroll, or you can send it here to WSNA.

Look for updates on your home emails. If we do not have a home email for you, please let your WSNA Nurse Rep know so you can stay updated: hwelander@wsna.org.

2016 Negotiation Survey Reopened

The 2016 WSNA Negotiation Survey has been reopened at your Local Unit Officers’ request. If you did not have an opportunity to participate before, please do so by October 16, 2016, at midnight.

Negotiations are starting this autumn. In preparation, your WSNA Negotiating Team needs your input to determine what issues are important to you. Check your email and you will have a message from “WSNA Local Unit.” Your individual answers are never shared with management and only the Negotiating Team has access to the data. Please take a moment to fill out this important survey.

We are asking for your input about the Paid Parental Leave.

Two of your team members will be paid to sit at the negotiating table and the others will have to take vacation. To help offset the burden, please donate some vacation time to your colleagues as they work hard on your behalf. Vacation donation form.

If you have any questions about the survey, paid parental leave, or how to donate vacation hours, please contact Hanna Welander, WSNA Nurse Rep, at hwelander@wsna.org or call 206-575-7979, Ext. 3035. 07/28/16 !

Get out the vote - South

Get out the vote!

Get out the vote - East

Get out the vote!

Schedule your time off now!

Your Local Unit Officers invite you to go for this educational event for FREE!

You will be awarded 7.75 continuing nursing education credits if you participate in the full program of events. Costumes are encouraged (but not required) for Monday night’s banquet. The theme this year is Member “Ship”. Get creative and have some fun!

WSNA Leadership Conference: Sept. 26 to Sep 27, 2016

Join us at the 2016 WSNA E&GW Leadership Conference!

Don’t miss WSNA’s popular annual labor training event at Campbell’s Resort in Chelan, Washington. Nurses from across the state will convene to get an update on the national and state labor scenes, to learn how to be more effective leaders in our own workplaces, to celebrate our successes, and to strategize for what’s coming next.

Your registration costs will be paid for by Local Unit Funds. Download and complete the registration form. You can FAX it to WSNA, Attention Hanna, (206) 575-1908 or scan and email it to hwelander@wsna.org. We will take care of the rest.

You must make your own hotel reservation and pay for it up front. After you submit your receipt you will be reimbursed.
When reserving a room at Campbell's for this event, be sure to mention Group Code "WSNA" for the best deal on your room rate.

Campbell's Resort has been family owned and operated since 1901, and offers 170 waterfront guest rooms in a wide range of room types, including family-friendly suites, two-bedroom units and rooms ideal for a romantic getaway. Every room comes with stunning up-lake views of Lake Chelan – a 55-mile long, glacially fed, crystal clear natural wonder – from a private balcony or deck.

If you have any questions, call WSNA Nurse Rep (206) 575-7979, Ext. 3035, or email hwelander@wsna.org.

Important Announcement! Negotiations are Around the Corner!

2016 Negotiations Survey

Negotiations are starting this autumn. In preparation, your WSNA Negotiating Team needs your input to determine what issues are important to you. Check your email and you will have a message from “WSNA Local Unit.” Your individual answers are never shared with management and only the Negotiating Team has access to the data. Please take a moment to fill out this important survey.

We are asking for your input about the Paid Parental Leave.

Two of your team members will be paid to sit at the negotiating table and the others will have to take vacation. To help offset the burden, please donate some vacation time to your colleagues as they work hard on your behalf. Vacation donation form.

If you have any questions about the survey, paid parental leave, or how to donate vacation hours, please contact Hanna Welander, WSNA Nurse Rep, at hwelander@wsna.org or call 206-575-7979, Ext. 3035. 07/28/16 !

Using Your Continuing Education Survey

Using Your Continuing Education Survey

Please take this survey ASAP! Your Local Unit Officers are asking for your help to determine if and how you are able to access continuing education hours/days provided by your contract.

New Officer

New Local Unit Secretary: Your Local Unit Officers have appointed Jane Storrs, RN, Juvenile Detention, to serve as your Local Unit Secretary.

We all offer heartfelt congratulations and welcome Jane to this important WSNA office!

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

Local Unit Meet-and-Greet - March 7th

Your Local Unit Officers invite all Bargaining Unit Members to dinner for a meet-and-greet and to share important Local Unit updates.

Please RSVP so that we can ensure adequate seating and food!

RSVP to hwelander@wsna.org or call (206) 575-7979, Ext. 0.

Monday, March 7, 2016

7-8:30 PM

The Old Spaghetti Factory, 17100 Southcenter Parkway, Tukwila, WA

Tentative Agenda:

  • Introductions
  • Update on Paid Parental Leave
  • Upcoming Negotiations
  • Follow-Up to Wage and Longevity Freezes
  • Update on Committees

Paid Parental Leave Ballot Results--Bargaining Unit Votes No

We have counted the ballots for the Paid Parental Leave. The measure did not pass.

Currently you retain 12 weeks of paid FMLA and 18 weeks of unpaid KCFML during which you have job protection and your health care benefits are paid by the county. Had the bargaining unit voted to accept the paid parental leave, you would have lost access to 12 weeks of unpaid KCFML permanently. The county stated that if you wanted to participate in the paid parental leave, your leaves would, from this point forward, run concurrently (at the same time), rather than consecutively (one after the other) as it is now.

We are really disappointed in the county’s hardline stance on this issue. It is particularly insulting because of all the work the bargaining unit did to Save Public Health in 2014. We attempted to work with the Office of Labor Relations to come up with some solutions, but they did not budge. Other unions that represent public health employees gave up 12 weeks of unpaid KCFML a couple of years ago for $500 per member. At that time, the Local Unit Officers did not believe that it was in the best interests of our nurses to accept the money in exchange for this benefit. I can anticipate that King County will come after this benefit hard this fall when we start negotiations for a new contract. We will need to be strong and united!

What does this mean for you? It means that you will not be paid for 12 weeks of paid parental leave, but you have potentially 12 weeks more unpaid time to spend with your new baby or child. Your colleagues can still donate sick leave and vacation upon request.

If you have any questions, please feel free to send your WSNA Nurse Rep Hanna Welander an email at hwelander@wsna.org or call me at (206) 575-7979, Ext. 3035.

Vote on paid parental leave

In December 2015, King County Council approved an ordinance for paid parental leave. WSNA needs to hear from you to determine if your bargaining unit should participate in this pilot project. This is an important matter which requires your careful consideration.

Three documents related to this:

  1. FAQ’s about paid parental leave,
  2. MOU -- Memorandum of Understanding Paid Parental Leave,
  3. King County Ordinance on Paid Parental Leave.

On the FAQ document, please note the bolded information at the top of page 1. You currently have leaves running consecutively; that is, if you meet the required qualifications, you have 12 weeks of FMLA and then 18 weeks of KCFML. The county proposes that if the bargaining unit participates in the paid parental leave pilot, from that point forward, your leaves will be required to run concurrently.

If your bargaining unit approves the pilot, it will run from January 1, 2016, through December 31, 2016 and will be retroactive to January 1, 2016.

Ballots must be postmarked by February 5, 2016, to qualify for the vote.

Improving Benefits!

Report prepared by Nikola Davidson, Special Projects Coordinator, PTE Local 17

Improving Benefits!

At a time when most private and public sector employers are eroding health and welfare plan benefits as a way of shifting the cost to employees, I am pleased (and a little proud) to announce that the King County plans will expand and improve benefits!

Effective January 1, 2016, your plan will provide 100% coverage for an extensive list of preventative care benefits and 100% coverage for contraceptives. The Affordable Care Act did not require these improvements because King County’s plans have grandfathered status. Despite that, and the significant cost associated with providing these benefits (approximately $500,000 per year), the JLMIC was convinced that this was money well spent. This is because preventative care is widely viewed by experts as a best practice from a plan design perspective.

The cost of these plan improvements pose no jeopardy or threat to the financial stability of the Protected Fund Reserve which is officially at $34.2 million as of the end of 2014, up over $9 million from the original seed of $25 million. In addition, as previously reported, the consultants at Mercer are predicting that the Protected Fund Reserve will be just shy of $38 million at the end of this year, and over $39 million by December 31, 2016 which is the last day of the current JLMIC agreement.

As we reported last month: this means: no premium share, and no changes to the important plan provisions such as co-payments, deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums at least through the end of 2016.

Benefit Access Fee Increase

Last year, we increased the Benefit Access Fee from $50 to $75. This lead to an increase to the PFR of nearly $500,000 and it had no negative effect on enrollment (in fact, the number of employees paying the benefit access fee increased). It is clear that we have not yet found the correct costing point for this benefit access fee as employed spouses still view it as a bargain. Accordingly, for 2016 we (like ATU) will be increasing the Spousal Benefit Access fee from $75 per month to $100 per month for King Care. This is important to avoid plan shopping whereby the County essentially subsidizes the deficient medical plans offered by less progressive employers. In addition, even with this increase the employer/employee cost-share percentage at King County remains far below the average.

As always, if you have questions or concerns about this report, please feel free to contact your WSNA Nurse Rep, Hanna Welander at hwelander@wsna.org or 206-575-7979, Ext. 3035.

Important Announcements!

New Grievance Officer: Your Local Unit Officers have appointed a new Grievance Officer, Brenda Balogh, RN, BSN. Ms. Balogh works at the King County Correctional Facility. Please welcome Brenda in her new role!

2015 Leadership Conference in Chelan: Your Local Unit Officers are offering to sponsor ten members to attend the 2015 Leadership Conference. This includes registration of $325 and reimbursement for your hotel stay. Email hwelander@wsna.org if you wish to attend.

KCCF Change in Shift Start Times

KCCF Change in Shift Start Times

The Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) regarding the change in shift start times for staff at KCCF has been signed. The effective date will be the August, 2015 schedule.

Important Announcements

Thanks to all of you for sending in your ballots. I am pleased to announce your new Local Unit Officers:

Chairperson: Christina Enriquez (Auburn)
Vice-Chairperson: Paul Kunkel (Columbia)
Treasurer: Amy Bellante (Federal Way)
Grievance Officer: Kaila Tang (Columbia)

There is still a vacancy for the Secretary position. Please contact your Local Unit Officers if you would like to be considered for appointment to this position.

Please give thanks to your outgoing Local Unit Officers who did an amazing job during these past years through some very tough times! Lori Ginther-Hutt (Federal Way); Susanne Strommer (KCCF); Louise Sears (retired); Christina Enriquez (Auburn);
Tina Maestas (Renton); Kate Besch (North/Chinook)

Ballots for change in start/end time KCCF: Ballots are coming to vote to approve the change in start and end time for KCCF RNs and LPNs from 0620-1420, 1420-2220, and 2220-0620 to 0615-1415, 1415-2215, and 2215-0615. This was a request by Members so that they can get in and out of the facility before elevators are shut down for Correction Officer roll call. We recommend a yes vote.

Spring 2015 Newsletter

Click here to view the Spring 2015 Newsletter.