What happens next?
CONTRACT RATIFICATION VOTE
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 options – Potential 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/union/st-joseph-medical-center
Questions? Contact WSNA Nurse Representative Hanna Welander at
firstname.lastname@example.org or 206 – 575-7979, ext. 3035.