Changes to the NICU - update

Hello NICU nurses!

We wanted to share some of what we’ve learned about the transition of the NICU from TG to Mary Bridge. WSNA has been speaking with UFCW (the union that represents the Mary Bridge nurses), and both unions have been speaking with MultiCare to get some clarity. There are still many unknowns but here’s what we know:

  • Ultimately, the NICU nurses will ultimately decide which union you want to represent you. One idea is to hold a vote, or some other declaration of preference, in early May; any vote will likely be conducted and overseen by a third party to ensure neutrality.
  • MultiCare would like to see this transition finalized in early July. Working backwards from that date, there is short amount of time to determine what the NICU nurses want. By holding a vote in May, the NICU RNs’ union would hopefully have enough time to bargain contract language before the effective date of the transition.
  • At that point – assuming NICU RNs want to stay with WSNA – we all would engage in “impact bargaining” (that is, bargaining around a specific event that forces a change in circumstances as opposed to bargaining the full contract, like we just did). While WSNA does not know what issues MultiCare would want to negotiate, we would think that staffing committee provisions (which staffing committee would NICU nurses participate in, for example) would be one, but we don’t know how big that list of issues would be (we presume Mary Bridge leadership would be involved in those negotiations). Given that we just negotiated our contract (with NICU represented on the bargaining team), we assume we’d want to keep as much of the existing contract as possible – that would first be a discussion amongst our team.
  • We have no way of knowing what impact bargaining would look like if NICU nurses opted to join UFCW (that is, what issues would have to be negotiated if NICU nurses joined with the existing Mary Bridge nurses).
  • We understand that there are still many concerns about seniority, wages, floating, staffing committee, and how your job will be affected by this change. All of these will need to bargained by the union of your choice, so we can’t answer these questions until that process begins.

Your WSNA team wants to hear from you, so we will be visiting your unit next week, planning a virtual unit meeting for the week following, and we are always available to answer questions via email.

Please feel free to direct your questions to your nurse rep, Brenda Balogh bbalogh@wsna.org or your organizer, Crystal Doll cdoll@wsna.org.