Low census #

Please take a moment to review the low census language in article 11.2 to ensure that all nurses are equitably rotated. If you are assigned a manda­tory low census day because you have the least amount of low census, this does not mean that you have to continue taking low census until you catch up” with your colleagues. You take your turn and go to the bottom of the list.

11.2 Low Census
11.2 Low Census. The Employer retains the right to deter­mine which nursing units may be combined either prior to or after the start of shift, for purposes of low census. For filling regularly sched­uled staffing needs, the Employer will use its best efforts to give priority to regular full-time and part-time nurses working up to their sched­uled FTEs over per diem, full and part-time nurses working above their sched­uled FTEs and/​or registry nurses, provided the full-time or part-time nurse is avail­able and skill, ability, experi­ence, compe­tency or quali­fi­ca­tions are not overriding factors. Within this context, the following guide­lines apply to the normal order in which nurses are to be called off due to low census:

1. Nurses working at an overtime or premium rate of pay during a non-regularly sched­uled shift.
2. Volun­teers. Volun­tary low census granted to individual nurses will be subject to staffing needs on the unit.
3. Agency and traveler nurses.
4. Per diem nurses.
5. Nurses working in excess of their sched­uled FTE at their straight time rate of pay.
6. Nurses working during their regularly sched­uled shift.

Place­ment on manda­tory low census will be rotated equitably among such nurses based on total number of low census hours within a six (6) month period, provided that skill, ability, experi­ence, compe­tence or quali­fi­ca­tions are not overriding factors.

Nurses will also be offered the option to float to areas where they are needed and quali­fied as deter­mined by the Employer on the basis of relevant criteria.

Manda­tory low census will be limited to no more than forty-eight ( 48) hours per nurse per six (6) month period of January-June or July-December. Hours count toward the manda­tory low census maximum only when low census is assigned pursuant to Paragraph 6 above. Nurses who miss a sched­uled shift on a unit treated as closed” due to a holiday shall be treated as being on volun­tary low census.

Labor & Industries — Department of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) #

In March WSNA filed a complaint with DOSH regarding:

  1. Reuse and sharing of PPE such as PAPRs without adequate cleaning per manufac­turer guidelines. 
  2. Nurses were directed to remove mask prior to leaving patient rooms.
  3. Lack of training on proper donning and doffing

WSNA facil­i­tated 12 inter­views with the DOSH Indus­trial Hygienist and our RNs. As the COVID pandemic evolved, instruc­tions to staff by admin­is­tra­tion changed frequently. It quickly became evident that there was a lack of prepa­ra­tion and educa­tion which affected your working condi­tions. Recom­men­da­tions from the CDC and DOH changed frequently, if not daily.

The inves­ti­ga­tion has concluded, and DOSH will be issuing their formal notice to St. Joe’s. We have requested a copy of the Citation and Notice as soon as it becomes available.

COVID and SABBATICAL Memorandums of Agreement (MOA) #

In April, together with our SEIU 1199NW brothers and sisters, we began negoti­ating terms and condi­tions for nurses who may be impacted by COVID. This included pay protec­tion through the end of April, lifting PTO caps, the addition of 80 hours of PTO, leaves for nurses in high-risk groups, and limits on floating. We success­fully reached agree­ment on April 10, 2020.

Since early May, we have been negoti­ating terms and condi­tions surrounding the employer solic­iting interest for sabbat­i­cals and early retire­ment. Despite multiple tele-meetings, we have not been successful in reaching an agree­ment. We presented a proposal on May 13 and we have yet to receive a counter proposal.

To ensure the rights of those who were being consid­ered for the sabbat­ical, we wanted to lock in protec­tions, such as how you would be recalled to work if needed, that seniority would be the prevailing factor, how much advance notice would be required for return to work, and that nurses would be restored to their FTE and shift.

We continued to press on manage­ment to grant unemploy­ment to those nurses who were volun­teering for sabbat­i­cals via the Shared Work Program through Employ­ment Securi­ties Division (ESD). The employer refused because they claim that they are self-insured for unemploy­ment benefits and it would cost too much. As our meetings continued, other cuts were imple­mented including cuts to execu­tive pay and manda­tory reduc­tions in FTEs for non-repre­sented employees or spending down PTO balances. The employer stated that the finan­cial outlook wasn’t as bleak as expected. They have commu­ni­cated that they have no plans for layoffs.

Conference Committee #

We, your Local Unit Officers, continue to meet bimonthly with manage­ment for Confer­ence Committee to bring forward issues that you have commu­ni­cated to us, your Local Unit Officers. Our last meeting was via tele-confer­ence on May 13, 2020. The purpose of the committee is to foster improved commu­ni­ca­tions between the Employer and the nursing staff and to discuss and improve profes­sional nursing practices in the Medical Center.

Cafeteria Time #

We have not been able to resume our monthly Cafeteria Time due to the pandemic. Please continue to send us your questions and concerns. Our contact infor­ma­tion is located on this page.

Evergreen Nurse Dies of COVID #

We express our condo­lences to the family of Kurt Julian, an Evergreen RN, who recently died after contracting COVID. Many have expressed their heart­felt condo­lences to his family, and we acknowl­edge the heart­break that his colleagues have faced over losing one of their own who gave so much. This is a message from our WSNA Presi­dent:

We are devas­tated to hear about Kurt’s death. We know he was a good and thoughtful man. He was on the front­lines battling this pandemic for his commu­nity and colleagues. Kurt showed heroism in his profes­sional practice. He put his own life on the line to care for patients through this COVID 19 virus. Evergreen­Health nurses, his family and friends have experi­enced a painful loss. The loss of one of our own regis­tered nurses is devas­tating. We will miss him. It is with heart­felt sadness, we send bless­ings to all who have been touched by Kurt’s life and affected by his loss in our commu­nity.” In Sympathy, Lynnette Vehrs, Presi­dent, WSNA

Investigatory Interviews #

If your manager wants an inves­ti­ga­tory inter­view: You have a right to repre­sen­ta­tion.

An inves­ti­ga­tory inter­view is when you are questioned by your manager or director about any issue that you are involved with that could possibly lead to disci­pli­nary action.

This can include tardi­ness, overtime, patient complaints, peer complaints, etc. You should ask at the begin­ning of the meeting, Is this a meeting that can lead to disci­pli­nary action?” If they answer Yes” then you have the right to ask for repre­sen­ta­tion. If they say No” and indicate that you don’t need anyone, listen carefully to what is being discussed. If it starts to feel like it could lead to disci­pline, you have the right to invoke your Weingarten rights.

Representation rights #

Under the Supreme Court’s Weingarten decision, when an inves­ti­ga­tory inter­view occurs, the following rules apply:

  1. The employee must make a clear request for union repre­sen­ta­tion before or during the inter­view. The employee cannot be punished for making this request. (Note: Do not ask the employer, do I need union repre­sen­ta­tion?” It is up to you to make the state­ment that you want union repre­sen­ta­tion.) Remember, manage­ment is not an appro­priate repre­sen­ta­tive, so if they offer you the nursing super­visor or someone else to sit with you, that is not adequate.
  2. After the employee makes the request, the employer must choose among three options. The employer must either:
    1. Grant the request and delay questioning until the union repre­sen­ta­tive arrives and has a chance to consult privately with the employee; or
    2. Deny the request and end the inter­view immedi­ately; or
    3. Give the employee a choice of: 1) having the inter­view without repre­sen­ta­tion, or 2) ending the interview.
  3. If the employer denies the request for union repre­sen­ta­tion and continues to ask questions, this is an unfair labor practice and the employee has the right to refuse to answer. The employee cannot be disci­plined for a refusal to answer questions without union representation.

Take care and Stay Safe!

In Unity from your Local Unit Officers,
Laura Bayes, Co-Chair; Shari Holst, Treasurer; Geri Falacy, Secre­tary; Rhonda Tull, Griev­ance Officer; Robin Cully, Griev­ance Officer; Grace Schackel, Griev­ance Officer; Tracy Pullar, Commu­ni­ca­tions; Susannah Sharp, Commu­ni­ca­tions; Darlyce Jerde, Commu­ni­ca­tions; Ryan Willis, Membership