Day 4 of negotiations completed


Today we received the extremely disappointing economic proposal from management, which was 2% effective the second pay period after ratification, 1.5% & 1.5% the full pay period after the anniversary of the ratification the next years.

WSNA has provided several proposals that recognize the commitment of nurses who work at SJMC and would reward and help with retention. Unfortunately, the Hospital has flatly rejected all of our proposals that reward the loyalty of nurses who remain at SJMC.

Our team has also presented proposals to help promote a respectful collaborative working relationship between WSNA and hospital management. Again hospital management did not seem be interested. In fact, they made it clear even after COVID restrictions are lifted they do not want our WSNA nurse rep to be able to walk through the hospital hallways, go to nurses break rooms, or meet and provide lunch to new nurses at new employee orientation.

Safety: Parking and walking to the hospital

At negotiations we proposed reasonable solutions to the safety issue in the parking lot. These included: keeping the sky bridge open at night for shift change, giving access to the secured underground parking garage for staff who are on call at night or have shift change between 2300 and 0700, and providing security in the parking garage 24/7. There are over 1,000 nurses who work here. Directing nurses to call 911 or request an escort from security every night is not a plausible solution.

We need you to join us in raising your voice. Click on the link below and share your personal story about parking safety with CEOs Gary Kaplan and Ketul Patel, and VP of HR Sharon Royne. Your individual story, expressed collectively, will make a difference.

WSNA nurses raise awareness for unconscionable treatment of new grads

We all remember what it was like when we first started our careers as a nurse. Full of hope and eager to help patients get better. Hungry to learn our profession while being anxious about making mistakes. But our world is increasingly more complicated. Nowadays new nurses are burdened by mountains of student debt. And here at St. Joe’s, new grads have an additional worry on their minds. St. Joe’s residency program locks new grads into a service agreement for 2 years, penalizing them up to $5,000 if they resign early. This is a far larger sum than what is required in other residency programs around the country. These agreements are made outside of the contract and have vague terms creating inconsistency and confusion for our new nurses.

That is why our WSNA negotiating team proposed language to address this issue in our contract. Our proposals seek to 1) clarify the terms and bringing it into our collective bargaining agreement 2) reduce the amounts and 3) prorate the amounts owed for time worked.

Let’s hear from a new grad that is directly affected by this:


“My name is Naomi Kincade. I became a nurse because I always liked science, was fascinated by medicine, and wanted to help people. I had started my senior practicum in Portland and was in the process of applying to residency programs there when the COVID-19 outbreak occurred. I graduated from Linfield College’s nursing program in May of 2020. There were many hiring freezes and the only place I was able to find a position was at St. Joe’s in Med/surg. I felt fortunate because my classmates were not having much luck, and this was a chance to start with a day shift position. So I took it.

I was given one weekend to decide and they didn’t make it clear what I was being asked to sign onto. Yes, I knew it was a 2 year commitment. But there were many things that were not transparent. For example, the two year countdown doesn’t start on our first day of work. We have been told that it begins after you start working without a preceptor. However, that isn’t necessarily true either. I started working without a preceptor in November 2020 so I assumed I would be done by November 2022. But my manager told me that my residency program ends January of 2023. There is a 60 day introductory period after you begin working independently that is not made clear. New nurses have told me they didn’t know that they would be penalized if they take any leave of absence during that time period. My coworker took FMLA during their residency and management pushed that 2 year mark out so they have to work for even longer to get out from under the agreement.

They also breezed through the money part. Management rationalizes this practice by saying that they put money into training us, and that if we leave, we naturally should be obligated to pay them for receiving that training. Management doesn’t tell new grads that we have to pay back the full $3,000 (and $5,000 in the case of critical care/oncology) even if you leave right the day before the 2 years is up.

As for management’s part, they aren’t doing what they said they’d do for us. New nurses are not getting the training and support they need to become strong nurses, especially on night shift. I have seen many new nurses in med/surg quit before fulfilling their 2 year obligation because the working conditions are so stressful to learn in. I have student debt and so money is a concern. I would be more likely to try and leave to find a job with better working conditions if I didn’t have this $3,000 fine hanging over my head. Learning from this experience, I think the new nurses are better off trying to find a residency program that doesn’t have the kind of contract they have here, making new nurses pay if it doesn’t work out. I think that instead of penalizing nurses for leaving early, the hospital would do better to create an environment that makes us want to stay.

This is part of the reason I’m part of the WSNA bargaining team. As a student I was active with my student nurse association and when I realized that my job was a WSNA represented job, I knew I wanted to connect to that. Nurses through our union look out for each other. And that’s exactly what being part of the WSNA team is about.”

Negotiation open for WSNA unit reps

Our WSNA negotiating team is working hard at the bargaining table and trying to be as transparent as possible. In an effort to increase transparency we are opening up negotiations to WSNA unit reps that would like to attend as observers. If you are a unit rep and would like to attend, please contact Barbara Friesen at bfriesen@wsna.org.

Unit reps have been extraordinarily helpful to the negotiating team, the negotiation process, and all of the nurses at the hospital. We still need unit reps on many units. If you are interested in becoming a rep or would just like more information about the position please contact any unit rep, local unit officer, or Barbara Friesen.

WSNA fights and wins on nurses' right to union action

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Thank you to all the nurses who wore their WSNA sticker last week in solidarity with the negotiating team.

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It was a successful action with nurses all over the hospital demonstrating support for our union. It was so effective in fact, that some managers tried to shut it down. We heard reports of some managers wrongfully telling nurses that we could not wear our stickers, demanding in some cases, for us to remove them. Our WSNA attorney Pamela Chandran and Nurse Rep Barbara Friesen acted on it, raising the potential unfair labor practice with management resulting in management acknowledging that nurses do indeed have the right to wear their WSNA union sticker. Great work everyone - so wear those stickers with pride team!

In Solidarity,
Your negoti­ating team: Dian Davis, Linda Burbank, Yunna Flenord, Brandon Hardaway, Katy Heffernan, Mathew McGuire, Shelly Pollock, Chelsey Roos, Emily D’Anna, Ken Richardson, Sally Budack, Naomi Kincade

Questions? Contact WSNA Nurse Repre­sen­ta­tive Barbara Friesen at bfriesen@wsna.org.