Thank you all for taking time to come share your priorities and concerns with your Negotiating Team members and the WSNA Attorney during the seven meetings held last week.
What we heard:
Top 3 priorities in the survey (over 600 respondents) and echoed at the meetings:
- Poor staffing and “Alternative Staffing”
- Retroactive pay vs. ratification bonus
Additional issues brought forward at the meetings:
- Walters Day Surgery and Main OR cross-training, protections for nurses with greater seniority.
- Heart Cath/EP mandatory overtime due to unscheduled and non-emergent add-on cases after shift end.
- Incentive pay for short-staffing.
- Workplace Violence and the recent hospital violations and fines from DOSH (Division of Occupational Safety and Health).
- Difficulty getting rest and lunch breaks due to break-relief nurses being pulled; charge nurses having to take assignments and inadequate support staff (mostly CNAs).
- Floating to unfamiliar units where you have not received proper orientation and float premium.
- More detailed communication prior to contract vote.
- Have the Wage Comparable Charts at the contract vote.
- Expanded time and days for contract vote.
- Having to wait 60 days for pay increase during transition between supplemental part-time and per diem.
Information shared at meeting:
- Wage and Premium pay comparable charts for SJMC and other competitors including Valley, St. Pete’s and Harborview. Wage Comparables and Premium Comparables are available on the wsna.org website. (Please note: The linked wage comps do not reflect the wage increases from the proposed contract. Under the proposed agreement, the St. Joe’s wages would have increased by 3% upon ratification and another 3.5% on November 1.)
- The February Consumer Price Index in Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue is 2.7.
- The Rest Break Bill and it subsequently passing in legislature, is going to the Governor for signature.
- WSNA Blue Fridays — wear your WSNA T‑shirts and buttons. Show Unity! (Note: Don’t risk your job. If a manager or supervisor tells you to remove a union button or t‑shirt, you should comply with the directive and contact your WSNA representative promptly. So, keep an extra scrub top handy.)
- Nurse Staffing Law, new regulations beginning January 1, 2019 (“Staffing Concerns” document).
- Importance of having nurses on the Safety Committee.
The importance of Filing Staffing Complaint/ADO Forms:
- You should try to file an ADO as soon as possible, but there is no time limit on when you can file it.
- The hospital cannot retaliate against you for filing an ADO form.
- If the hospital is not following the staffing plan that is filed with DOH, you can fill out an ADO.
- If they are using “alternative staffing”, you can fill out an ADO.
- Any nurse who is negatively impacted, whether because of faulty equipment, break-relief nurse or their charge nurse having to take assignments, and/or missing rest breaks should fill out ADOs.
- If you are floated to units where you have not been oriented, fill out an ADO.
- For more information about new provisions of the Nurse Staffing Law taking effect January 1, 2019 see the “Staffing Concerns” document.
Nurse Staffing Committee:
- Once the ADO is filed electronically, copies get emailed to the Nurse Staffing Committee Co-Chairs, your Local Unit Chair, WSNA Nurse Rep, and to your nurse manager if you input their email address. (See algorithm on document “Staffing Concerns.”)
- All Staffing Complaint/ADOs are reviewed by the Nurse Staffing Committee. HR or your manager cannot dismiss or deem a Staffing Complaint/ADO invalid.
- The law says the hospital is supposed to staff according to the plan, and there may be shift-to-shift adjustments depending on need. If the hospital is not staffing according to plan or you disagree with shift-to-shift adjustment, you file an ADO. Those go to staffing committee, which must evaluate and respond to each complaint. If they can resolve it, they document as resolved. If it is not unresolved within a 60-day period, we will collect that aggregate data and file a complaint with DOH. Then DOH would investigate those complaints. We can’t promise that if we file complaint with DOH that they will fix the process, but if we don’t do anything, we can’t help solve the problem.
- WSNA requested information on the hospital’s Alternative Staffing plan. We also sent a cease and desist letter. Surprisingly, their answer was, in essence, we don’t have a plan, we make it up as we go. See Blog on Alternative Staffing and “Staffing Concerns” document.
- View staffing plans submitted to DOH by St. Joseph Medical Center.
Rest Break Settlement:
It is crucial that you document when you are missing breaks, both in Kronos and submitting a Staffing Complaint/ADO. Here is the latest update on the rest break settlement.
Engaging our Unit Reps and Activists:
- Thank you to all those who expressed an interest in being a Unit Rep.
- Activists can distribute buttons and T‑shirts (in non-work areas during non-work times) as long as you have them to give out.
- The most important factor is having face-to-face conversations with each other, talking about what is important in your workplace, what is important to you in negotiations, and making sure that everyone is strong — together.
- When you do have a contract, enforcement of that contract continues. As Unit Reps or Activists, you are the eyes and ears of your Local Unit. Your elected Local Unit Officers need your help.
- Please contact Tara Barnes, Nurse Organizer at email@example.com if you want to be a Unit Rep; we need one for every shift on every unit.
Protected Concerted Activity:
Saying to your boss “I’m just speaking for myself’ ” is not protected. If you tell the boss you are speaking for all the nurses, that is protected. Protection is key. Examples of concerted protected activities include:
- Participating in information picket or other WSNA actions.
- Attending local unit meetings.
- Wearing a union button.
- Wearing WSNA t‑shirt on blue Fridays.
- Note: Don’t risk your job. If a manager or supervisor tells you to remove a union button or t‑shirt, you should comply with the directive and contact your WSNA representative promptly. So, keep an extra scrub top handy.
Work Stoppages or Strikes:
Whether or not there is a strike or other work stoppage, that is a decision the nurses in your Local would vote on and one where we must have unity to support. If there is going to be a work stoppage, such as a strike, nurse unions are required to give at least 10 days’ notice to give the employer an opportunity to hire replacements, travelers. During a strike, you receive no pay and cannot access PTO unless it was requested and approved prior to the strike, you are not eligible for unemployment, and your health benefits may be impacted. For more information, see the Outline of the Law on Strikes and Lockouts.
If everyone is collectively wearing WSNA buttons or t‑shirts, the hospital probably won’t try to retaliate against you. Filing ADOs or using the grievance procedure is your right under the contract and if your manager threatens you or tries to intimidate you, that is an unfair labor practice. Contact your WSNA Nurse Rep right away (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Your team knows that all of you are talking. Let’s keep up the momentum. When we get the next bargaining date, we will ask you for your help. Stay tuned for that!
Questions? Contact WSNA Nurse Representative Hanna Welander at email@example.com.