Local Unit Newsletter

Proudly introducing our WSNA negotiating team

It’s contract negotiations time and we have a strong team representing us at the table. Our team met four times already to begin preparing for negotiations with our WSNA Nurse Rep Barbara Friesen. We utilized these sessions to review our survey results and identify priorities, establish ground rules, and walk thru the current contract for problematic areas.

Our team is excited to be working with Pamela Chandran, WSNA Labor Counsel for this upcoming negotiation. She joins our team, bringing much experience fighting for fair contracts. Pamela and Barbara have been training the negotiating team and drafting proposals that address nurse and patient concerns. Pamela has already reached out to management to set some dates for negotiations.

If you see one of our team members, say hello and thank them for stepping up to the challenge! Please ask them how you can do your part in strengthening our contract as we head into negotiations. We are stronger together.

Nego team
Left to right back row standing: Naomi Kincade, Brandon Hardaway, Katy Sargent, Mathew McGuire, Shelly Pollock, Sally Budack, Emily D’Anna Front row; Chelsey Roos, Yunna Flenord.

Over 1000 WSNA nurses activate voices at SJMC

More than 1000 of us spoke up and filled out our WSNA bargaining survey. Thank you to each nurse who took the time to do this. It will not come as a surprise to any of us that our major concerns centered around safe staffing and pay issues to help retain and recruit qualified nurses for our community.


Blue Friday WSNA T-Shirts

Have you gotten your T-Shirt yet? If not, please contact one of the WSNA Unit Reps on your unit or a WSNA Local Unit Officer to let them know you need one. Our supply is really low which means we will be placing another order and want to be sure we get enough for every nurse. Let us know asap.

“A strong union gives power to the people” says ACC/2 South Unit Rep Teresa

Teresa Kindell, a fourth-generation nurse and PNW local wants her coworkers to see the power in our union.

She knew she wanted to be a nurse from a young age. At 14 she went with her mom to the critical care unit for Take Your Daughter to Work Day. It was there she saw first-hand nurses in action, taking care of patients and helping people get better.

Teresa, who is known as “TK” on her unit, has been working at St. Joes in the ACC for the past twelve years. Her favorite part about working there is mentoring new nurses and watching them connect the dots. Her team is tight-knit, and Teresa says she has the best coworkers in the hospital.

COVID-19 has led to new challenges on the floor. With staffing issues and constant turnover, new nurses are overwhelmed without sufficient support. Teresa wants to encourage her coworkers to get involved with our union so we can improve our working conditions and people can have a greater say in their work. She says that “without strong union support, nothing is going to get better.” Teresa was able to help get her unit up to a 93% response rate for the WSNA negotiation survey.

In her spare time, Teresa is an avid traveler. She loves to get to know other cultures, and always tries to take a cooking class when she goes somewhere new. Teresa’s dedication to mentoring new nurses and getting involved as a unit rep makes St. Joes a better, safer place.

We’re grateful to have her as a unit rep!

Want to join our unit rep team?

We have been working on building our WSNA Unit Rep (UR) structure with the goal of one UR for every 10 nurses throughout the hospital. Some of our units have that ratio of reps to nurses or are close. We held our first UR last March and continue to meet monthly. The units with Reps have made a huge positive difference. The work is as much as you want it to be. Our Reps are the first to know what is happening, they get to give away stuff like T-Shirts and badge reels, welcome new nurses to their unit, and network with each other every month at our meetings. It is a fun and extraordinarily important position.

If you would like more information or already know you would like to be part of our team please contact any UR, Local Unit Officer, or our Nurse Rep Barbara Friesen at bfriesen@wsna.org.

Is your paycheck correct?

Have you ever looked at your SJMC paycheck paystub and wondered if it was correct? Sonia DaSilva, who deserves a huge shoutout, was curious about one of the paychecks she received and did not show her ESI was paid at the overtime rate of pay. She did all of the things you are supposed to do. She asked her manager about it, filed a PAR, and was told she was paid correctly but nobody explained or showed her how it was paid correctly.

Sonia knew this was a premium that was in our WSNA contract and that it was supposed to be paid at time and a half. She was frustrated she could not see if she was being paid correctly and nobody was showing her proof it was. Sonia contacted WSNA and shared her story. We saw everything Sonia had been told and looked at her paystub too. We could not see if she was paid correctly either, so we filed a grievance.

During the grievance process, WSNA and Sonia learned SJMC pays using weighted pay. This method of pay is complicated and can be found on the L&I website if you would like to understand how it works. Using weighted pay results in the overtime rate of pay varying from week to week. If you were paid weekly your paystub would show how you were paid for the week. However, CHI paychecks are for two weeks so your paystub will not show how you were paid for both weeks. To determine if your paycheck is correct you need to get what is called a Regular Rate Calculation Worksheet. That breaks the two weeks apart and shows exactly how everything is calculated and paid.

After getting the regular rate worksheet for the pay period in question we learned Sonia was paid correctly. Still, it was bothersome a nurse could not look at their paystub and see if they were paid correctly. WSNA together with Sonia worked through the grievance process and reached a settlement with SJMC.

The settlement agreement states: A nurse with a question about the calculation of overtime in a specific pay period shall be directed to contact an HR Representative. The HR Representative will then provide the nurse with a copy of the nurse’s Regular Rate Calculation Worksheet for the pay period in question. The HR Representative will provide an explanation of the Employer’s overtime calculation methodology and how the Employer utilized that methodology.

Now if you have wonder if your paycheck is correct, you have this option.

Thank you, Sonia DaSilva!

Your manager tells you they would like to talk with you

Union members have the right to union representation in any meeting that could lead to discipline. Be aware of your representation rights.

Job postings and filling positions

Our contract speaks to how posted positions are supposed to be posted and filled.

6.9 Job Openings. Notices of vacancies in existing positions shall be posted for at least seven (7) calendar days in advance of filling the position. Notices of vacancies shall be posted on the FHS website. Announcements for residency programs shall be posted on the FHS website for at least thirty (30) days. The following procedure will be used for filling RN vacancies when a regular scheduled job opening occurs within the bargaining unit:

6.9.1 Qualified in-house RN applicants from the same unit as the vacancy will have priority over non-unit applicants. Among qualified in-unit applications, seniority will be the determining factor providing skill, competency, ability and prior job performance (during the prior twelve (12) months) are not considered to be overriding factors in the opinion of the Employer based on specified documentation and evaluations contained in the nurse's personnel file.

6.9.2 Qualified in-house RN applicants will have priority over non-bargaining unit RNs and external applicants. Among qualified in-house applicants, seniority will be the determining factor providing skill, competency, ability and prior job performance (during prior twelve (12) months) are not considered to be overriding factors in the opinion of the Employer.

To be considered for such job openings, nurses must complete and submit an application for transfer through the FHS website. A nurse who submits a completed application will receive email confirmation of receipt the same day. If the transfer cannot occur immediately, the Employer will make a good faith effort to transfer a nurse to the new position within six (6) weeks. When a position is filled, the status of the employee's application will be e-mailed to the employee within two (2) days. Upon request, the unsuccessful applicant may contact the HR Department to obtain the identity of the nurse awarded the position.

If you apply for a position and are not awarded the position but believe you should have been please contact a Unit Rep, Local Unit Officer, or Nurse Rep Barbara Friesen bfriesen@wsna.org. We only have 14-calendar days from the time we know a grievance exists to file a grievance so be sure you contact us as soon.

Request disciplines be removed after 1 year

We have a provision in our contract that allows nurses to request their discipline be removed from their personnel file if no further written disciplinary actions for the same reason have occurred during the 1-year period.

6.4 Personnel Files. Nurses shall have access to their personnel files in accordance with RCW 49.12.240, 250 and 260. Written personnel action forms in duplicate will be used to specify conditions of hiring, change in status, pay, shift, or leave of absence. The nurse shall be given one copy of this form. Nurses shall have the right to review and comment on letters of warning and performance evaluations currently in their personnel file and to request removal of warning notices after one (1) year, if no further written disciplinary action for any the same reason has occurred during this one (1) year period. Removal shall be at the discretion of the Medical Center.

If you have a discipline the has been in your personnel 1-year or more request it is removed. If you are unsure if there is anything in your file you can see above in Article 6.4 you have a right to review your file.

Did you know we have WSNA local unit website?

We have our own Local Unit WSNA page! If you want to see current and past communications or get in touch with a rep check out our page at https://www.wsna.org/union/st-joseph-medical-center.

Do you have Facebook? Join SJMC RN coworkers!

We have a PRIVATE Facebook page; it will most likely receive new information and updates first. If you are part of this group, you will be the first to hear of anything happening! If you have questions on how to get invited to be in it, please contact one of our Unit Reps. If you are on the page, please invite your co-workers! There ARE 3 entry questions just to make sure we don’t have any outsiders ;)