Local Unit Officer elections are happening!

Watch your mail for your ballot and remember to vote! Postmark deadline is Oct. 18, 2019.

Rest Break settle­ment meetings continue:

SJMC has agreed to provide additional break nurse FTEs for 4 South and 7th Floor (in accor­dance with the Rest Break Settle­ment terms). Please continue to document missed breaks!

Extra Shift Incen­tive Issues

We are hearing that the Extra Shift Incen­tive is only being paid if it is documented in the Kronos Edit Log, using the term Extra Shift Incen­tive or ESI. Nurses are evidently not being paid the premium other­wise. Please submit a PAR if there is a discrep­ancy in your pay.

Memorandum of Under­standing from new WSNA Contract, p. 46

Extra Shift Incen­tive

Effec­tive August 25, 2019: The Employer and the Associ­a­tion agree that in response to staffing issues, a shift incen­tive of $5.00 per hour will be added to the RN’s regular rate of pay for nurses who work an extra shift in patient care. The purpose of this incen­tive is to encourage nurses to volun­tarily sign up to work extra open shifts beyond their FTE. This incen­tive will be avail­able through December 31, 2020.

Nurse Eligi­bility Require­ments:

  • The nurse must work a direct patient care shift
  • The nurse must have an assigned FTE of 0.6 or greater
  • The nurse must work her/​his assigned FTE during the work week in which she/​he picks up the extra shift(s) in order to receive the incen­tive pay. If a short notice absence occurs in the work week the extra shift is worked, the nurse will be ineli­gible for incen­tive pay.

WSNA Files DOH Complaint for Viola­tion of the Nurse Staffing Law

On October 8, 2019, WSNA filed a complaint pursuant to RCW 70.41.420 as set forth in ESHB 1714 (2017) pertaining to Nurse Staffing Commit­tees. WSNA requested that the Washington State Depart­ment of Health open an inves­ti­ga­tion into St. Joseph Medical Center due to viola­tion of the following provi­sions of the Nurse Staffing law:

  • Failure to follow the nursing personnel assign­ments in a patient care unit in viola­tion of RCW 70.41.420 or shift-to-shift adjust­ments in staffing levels in viola­tion of RCW 70.41.420.

WSNA analyzed 497 submitted ADOs. The complaint and request for DOH inves­ti­ga­tion relates to 32 complaints that have been reviewed by the Nurse Staffing Committee and marked as unresolved.” To date, 64 of the complaints have been resolved.

The Power of the ADO (Assign­ment Despite Objec­tion)
By Linda Burbank, SJMC Co-Chair of Safe Staffing Committee

There have now been over 500 ADOs filed by the nurses. Thanks to each and every one of you for taking the time to complete them. Please continue to submit ADOs so that staffing and safety issues can be tracked and addressed. Common themes identi­fied in the ADOs include: insuf­fi­cient staffing, charge RNs and support staff being pulled, staff unable to get adequate breaks and inappro­pri­ately staffing based on patient acuity.

A separate ADO sub-committee had to be formed to manage the volume of ADOs. This sub-committee has had several meetings to review the ADOs and deter­mine if they are resolved or unresolved. They report back to the larger Committee so that issues can be addressed.

Sally Budack has been instru­mental in creating a database to track and trend the ADOs. Her contri­bu­tions have been trail­blazing, to say the least. This has allowed the Safe Staffing Committee to closely track unresolved issues. We are seeing a distinct pattern over multiple 60-day periods of unresolved complaints.

Now more than ever, we need direct feedback from the nurses regarding safe staffing. This can be accom­plished by: filing ADOs, commu­ni­cating with the Safe Staffing Committee members, completing the Safe Staffing survey and by serving as a member or ad hoc member. The Safe Staffing Committee will be reaching out to nurses to get input about the Staffing Plan for their floor. If you are avail­able to assist in this manner please contact Linda Burbank, ACC/​2‑South; Sally Budack, Main SADU; or Melissa Garcia, 7th Floor.

Nurse Safe Staffing Survey Coming Your Way

Watch for the Nurse Safe Staffing Survey coming at the end of the year. Your partic­i­pa­tion and feedback are needed.

Wage imple­men­ta­tion date:

We have deter­mined that per contract language in 9.2, the employer fulfilled its oblig­a­tion by imple­menting wage increases on the first full pay period in July after the July 19 contract ratifi­ca­tion session. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact one of your Local Unit Officers or WSNA Nurse Repre­sen­ta­tive Hanna Welander, 206 – 575-7979, Ext. 3035.

Paycheck Errors Committee Commencing Soon

The Division Director of HR Opera­tions and the Medical Center HR Director shall, within ninety (90) days of contract ratifi­ca­tion, meet with a committee of three (3) nurses as appointed by the Associ­a­tion for up to two (2) hours to hear and discuss concerns regarding pay stubs, paycheck errors and related payroll issues. There­after, the Division Director of HR Opera­tions and the Medical Center HR Director shall meet with the WSNA committee up to three (3) times for two (2) hours during the succeeding twelve (12) months. The nurses who attend the meetings shall attend on paid time.

With the new contract, we achieved language to set up meetings to discuss paycheck errors with the Division Director of HR Opera­tions. Three nurses have been appointed.

Breaks and Overtime Protec­tions bill for health­care professionals/​Workplace Violence Bill

We Won! Now What? Learn about the legisla­tive provi­sions and imple­men­ta­tion strate­gies for meal and rest breaks, overtime protec­tions, and workplace violence preven­tion.

Join your West Coast colleagues for an infor­ma­tional event on November 6, 2019, in Aberdeen/​Grays Harbor. Other venues can be accessed.

More Counties Join PCNA:

On December 6, 2018, the Washington State Nurses Associ­a­tion (WSNA) reorga­nized the bound­aries of its regional profes­sional organi­za­tions. As a result, Pierce County Nurses Associ­a­tion (PCNA)’s bound­aries expanded to cover Pierce, Thurston, Grays Harbor, Mason, Kitsap, Jefferson and Clallam counties. All WSNA members who live or work in these counties now have access to all PCNA programs, activ­i­ties and events.

Union Members’ Right to Representation #

Inves­ti­ga­tory inter­views

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.

If called into a meeting with manage­ment, read the following (or present the Weingarten palm card) to the manage­ment when the meeting begins:

If this discus­sion could in any way lead to my being disci­plined or termi­nated, I respect­fully request that my Union Repre­sen­ta­tive be present at this meeting. Without repre­sen­ta­tion present, I choose not to partic­i­pate in this discussion.”

Frequently asked questions

Why do I need repre­sen­ta­tion?
You need to take a repre­sen­ta­tive from WSNA in for meetings that could lead to disci­pline. While the repre­sen­ta­tive may not disrupt or obstruct the inter­view, manage­ment must allow the repre­sen­ta­tive to speak and provide you with assis­tance and counsel. In addition, the repre­sen­ta­tive should take detailed notes of what you say and what your manager says. Usually these meetings are emotional for the RN involved. After walking out of the director or manager’s office, often the RN doesn’t remember all that was said, how it was said, and what was agreed to, etc. Having your WSNA repre­sen­ta­tive present can prevent later disputes about exactly what was actually said in the meeting. The repre­sen­ta­tive can also help you clarify confusing questions.

Who can repre­sent me?
You should first ask for your Local Unit Griev­ance Officers. To contact them, call WSNA or the officers directly. If the Griev­ance Officers are not avail­able, one of the other Local Unit Officers can attend. You have the right to have a reason­able amount of time to get repre­sen­ta­tion.

If they keep asking questions, can I leave?
No, stay at the meeting, but do not answer questions until your repre­sen­ta­tive has a chance to arrive. Let them know, I will listen but I’m going to withhold any comment until I can get a representative.”

Questions about this newsletter or its contents?

Contact WSNA Nurse Repre­sen­ta­tive Hanna Welander at hwelander@wsna.org or 206 – 575-7979, ext. 3035.