Hello everyone, this February we start the negotiations for our contract which expires March 31, 2019. We had an excellent response from our bargaining unit on the survey. Over 80% of our nurses took the time to fill out the survey to let us know what is important to them. We want to give credit to the unit reps who reminded nurses to fill out the survey. The unit reps have made a huge difference in our nurses being engaged and participating in union activities.
This year we used a new method to remind everyone of the kickoff party for negotiations that was on Feb. 11. We used a method called the Hustle text, whereby nurses received the reminder via text. It was a huge success – everyone looks at their texts! We have used the RoboCall in the past but our response to the Hustle text was phenomenal.
Our survey showed that nurses are concerned about what nurses have been concerned about for years. Safe patient care has always been at the top of the list of concerns. We encourage nurses to continue to fill out the staffing concern forms when you have concerns about your assignment. The staffing concern forms for the new 2nd surgical made a difference. Nurses took the time to write down their concerns about assignments on 2nd surgical and the lack of a dedicated NTL for that unit. As a result, 2nd surgical now has a dedicated NTL and an overlap nurse. WSNA reviews the staffing concern forms with management in the staffing committee as well as in the bi-monthly conference committee meetings. WSNA also makes sure your manager's response is sent to you. Remember you don't have to ask permission from anyone to write a SCF. This is not a reflection on management but rather a method by which you are documenting an assignment concern that affects you and/or your co-workers.
Negotiations in the past have taken as little as 2 months and as long as 11 months. Three years ago, we received a contract from management that had over 30 takeaways for the RNS. Your WSNA nursing board spent 10 months fighting the takeaways. Remember the negotiations are open to the nurses. It is an educational experience and you get to see your board, nurse rep and WSNA lawyer in action. The dates for March are March 1, 21 and 26. The negotiations will be at HEC Room C. We have the room from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. but will post more specific times as we get them. As soon as we know all the details, we will let the bargaining unit know via signs on the WSNA bulletin boards in your unit and hustle text.
After negotiations, the nurses will vote on the contract and at the vote, we will be asking you to sign up for a spot on the WSNA board for a three-year commitment. There will be several positions to choose from: co-chair, co-secretary, co-communications officer, co-grievance officer, treasurer, safety officer, and co-membership officer. We have over 850 union nurses at St. Joe’s, we need a full board consisting of 13 nurses. No experience is necessary. Several of the nurses on the board are either going to retire or step down after this term. Their dedication to supporting nurses is without question but we need new nurses to now step up and take their place. Please consider running for the WSNA board.
If you have specific questions about any of the positions, you can call or write to anyone on the board. Our phone numbers and emails are on the WSNA roster, which is on your WSNA bulletin board in your unit.
Do my complaints/concerns get heard? This is a question we hear often from the nurses. If you have a complaint or concern about your work or working conditions, WSNA encourages you to speak to your manager first. If you feel your concerns were dismissed or went unheard, please contact anyone on the WSNA board. We will do our best to resolve it. Recently, the ED nurses contacted us and told us there was a "new policy" whereby nurses were not being allowed to put in for PTO days on their days off so they would be insured they would get a block of time off. WNSA contacted the director of the ED and we received an email from HR stating this was a miscommunication and that nurses were to put in for their scheduled days off, thereby ensuring they would get a block of time off.
Some issues are not so easily resolved, and we have had to file a grievance. WSNA always tries to resolve issues with management through collaborative conversation first.
WSNA has heard complaints from nurses that they are being told they can't change shifts for 18 months. If this has happened to you, please contact someone on the board. Again, our contact information is on the WSNA bulletin boards and on the WSNA website.
WSNA has also heard from nurses regarding their frustration with getting PTO. WSNA has had many discussions with the employer concerning this issue. We want all nurses to know we hear you loud and clear and we know what a huge dissatisfier this is for nurses.