What happens next?
Thursday, June 13, at Lagerquist C.
You must be present between 6 – 9 a.m., 10 a.m – 1 p.m., 2 – 5 p.m., or 5:30 – 8:30 p.m.

If the contract is ratified:

Of the WSNA members who cast ballots, if 50% +1 vote in favor of ratifi­ca­tion, the contract will become effec­tive immedi­ately.

Raises and bonuses will be paid on either the first or second pay period following ratifi­ca­tion.

If the contract is not ratified:
If the member­ship votes to reject the tenta­tive agree­ment,
WSNA will immedi­ately begin the process of sched­uling a strike autho­riza­tion vote which may be preceded by one or more strike infor­ma­tion meetings.

If WSNA is autho­rized to call a strike — Impor­tant facts to remember:

Threshold for success – Only dues-paying WSNA members are eligible to cast a vote. If 67% of the votes cast are in favor, a strike autho­riza­tion is obtained. While this vote is an impor­tant threshold, a successful strike will require a much higher level of commit­ment as measured by the near unani­mous support and partic­i­pa­tion of all SJMC nurses. A strike, while a powerful weapon, does not guarantee we will achieve what we ask for from the employer.

Duration – The duration of the strike will be deter­mined by WSNA based on multiple factors including employer and local unit/​WSNA power consid­er­a­tions, as well as commu­ni­ca­tion and systems support.

Use of vacation/​PTO – Employer is not required to allow strikers to use their accrued vacation time or other benefits during a strike unless they are other­wise entitled to do so.

Unemploy­ment benefits – Under Washington law, a worker is not entitled to receive unemploy­ment compen­sa­tion benefits when the individual is out of work due to a strike.

Return to work after strike
Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) strike: When workers engage in a strike to protest unfair labor practices committed by the employer – such as threats to coerce employees to refrain from union activity, or spying on employees’ union activ­i­ties, or refusing to bargain in good faith – the employer may only hire tempo­rary replace­ment workers, and when the strike ends the employer must promptly reinstate the strikers to their former positions.

Economic strike: When employees engage in a strike solely to try to compel the employer to agree to their economic demands (such as union recog­ni­tion, higher wages or better working condi­tions), the employer may legally hire other workers to perma­nently replace the strikers. At the end of an economic strike, when the union on behalf of the employees makes an uncon­di­tional offer to return to work, the employer is not legally required to reinstate the strikers to their jobs. The employer has no oblig­a­tion to discharge the replace­ment workers and is only required to place the strikers on a rehire list with prefer­en­tial recall rights. So, while the strikers are not fired and techni­cally remain employees” for certain legal purposes, they may not have a job or any income.

If WSNA is NOT autho­rized to call a strike — this signif­i­cantly weakens the bargaining power of WSNA.
Poten­tial impact includes:

Working without a contract – In the absence of a contract, the employer is required to maintain all of the present terms and condi­tions of employ­ment. As a result, our current wage and step scale will remain at status quo. There would be no raises, except for step-related increases, and also no reduc­tions. Terms such as PTO accrual and sched­uling, layoff language and premiums and differ­en­tials will remain in place.

Griev­ance and Arbitra­tion Clause – Enforcing our contract could become more diffi­cult as the employer will not have an oblig­a­tion to arbitrate griev­ances that arise during the interim period between contracts.

Employer’s optionsPoten­tial actions by the employer include:

  • SJMC would have the right to lock us out in an attempt to force us to accept their proposed contract. In such case, nurses would not be fired, but we would not be allowed to work. We would go without paychecks for the duration of the lockout. Insur­ance benefits would cease at the end of the month previ­ously paid by the employer.
  • The employer could gain the right to unilat­er­ally imple­ment its proposed contract at the point the parties reach impasse. Impasse is a legal term based on a fact-specific scenario. In general, impasse means a stale­mate in which further negoti­a­tions would be futile. If SJMC asserts that the parties are at impasse, it could imple­ment the proposed tenta­tive agreement.
  • The employer’s final option is to simply allow the status quo to remain. Again, under the status quo, there are no raises (except for step increases) or bonuses paid. SJMC would benefit from the mainte­nance of the status quo as the employer makes money with each passing day that we do not get our raises.

Unilat­eral imple­men­ta­tion is a threat to our collec­tive voice – A unilat­eral imple­men­ta­tion by an employer is a morale-busting experi­ence for workers. An imple­men­ta­tion by SJMC would feel extremely defeating – both for the current contract and future negoti­a­tions. Also, our collec­tive voice as a union could be lost altogether.

More infor­ma­tion: wsna​.org/​u​n​i​o​n​/​s​t​-​j​o​s​e​p​h​-​m​e​d​i​cal-center

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