We Have a Tentative Agreement! Your bargaining team recommends a *YES* vote

Congratulations, we have an agreement that preserves nearly all of the best parts of our TG contract and builds in several detailed, strong protections as we transition to Mary Bridge! MultiCare’s decision to switch the NICU from TG to Mary Bridge forced us to renegotiate the contract that we thought was settled last year – every aspect of our contract was up for negotiations. This was a daunting challenge to negotiate because we were basically starting from scratch – many thanks to everyone who came to observe and see how difficult this process is, to everyone who got signatures on the petition, and to those who signed.

Now that the NICU is its own bargaining unit (that is, because we are Mary Bridge employees, we are a separate group from TG, but we are all still WSNA), we need to elect our local unit officers. We encourage you – especially if you have been frustrated or confused by this whole process – to take an active role in your union and become an officer or a unit rep. Keep an eye out for future communications on this.

The ratification vote will be on Thursday, September 28, Pharmacy Conference room on 2C, from 0630-0830, 1100-1300, and 1830-2100. Vote count immediately after, and nurses in good standing are welcome to participate or observe. You must be a member in good standing to vote (we’ll have membership applications available at the vote). Bargaining team members, your nurse rep, and attorney-negotiator will be present to answer questions.

*Note: on the last day of bargaining, NICU on-call/per diem nurses joined us at bargaining to demand voluntary recognition – approximately 85% of the per diems signed a petition saying that they want to join our union. *This is a fantastic development and will make all of us stronger together.* MultiCare, unsurprisingly, declined to voluntarily recognize the per diems as part of our union, so we’ll begin the process to get an election for the per diems started at the National Labor Relations Board. This Tentative Agreement does not cover the per diems yet – when the per diem NICU nurses join us, we’d negotiate any specific provisions necessary to address per diem concerns and the rest of the contract would extend to them. The whole unit (full-time, part-time, and per diem NICU nurses) would vote on that.*

Certain aspects of the Tentative Agreement require agreement with the UFCW – the union that represents the rest of Mary Bridge – to ensure that both unions and MultiCare agree on certain processes (for example, how seniority is addressed if a NICU RN wants to transfer to the PICU and vice-versa). MultiCare, UFCW, and we are discussing how those provisions would work.

Here are highlights of the Tentative Agreement. Full copies of the newly negotiated contract will be available for members’ review at ratification.

What we protected:

  • Our pay scale. The wages and future raises remain the same. Currently, that’s higher than what the other Mary Bridge nurses make – their contract expires next August so we expect that they’ll see increases then.
  • Our differentials/premiums.
    • We added a provision regarding stipends that transport nurses receive ($75 for each transport to which they’re dispatched; $225 for each transport if they’re called in; an additional $75 if dispatched to a referral hospital (clarified that this is on top of whatever other stipend they receive)). While this was current practice, it wasn’t in the contract. Now, it can’t be changed.
    • We added a provision regarding the premium pay of $5/hour for transport nurses. Same as above – now that it’s in the contract, it can’t be changed without bargaining.
  • Our expiration date. This contract will expire on December 31, 2025 – the same date as the TG contract. This is an important victory because we can align with the 1,000+ TG members to increase our WSNA power. Management had wanted our contract to expire next year on 8/31/24, when UFCW’s Mary Bridge contract expires. First, that was way too soon to start bargaining again after the TG contract last fall and now this one. Second, we felt our power would be stronger if we remained aligned with our WSNA TG union siblings (can you imagine if one group struck and the other had to cross to get to work?).
  • Our PTO scheduling. Management tried to move us onto the MB PTO scheduling model.
  • Our seniority. Seniority stays with us, our accrual rates stay with us.
    • Some aspects of seniority (how it works if a WSNA NICU nurse wants to transfer to the PICU; how it works if a UFCW PICU nurse wants to transfer to the NICU) need to be synchronized with UFCW.
  • Our benefits eligibility. Nurses in the bargaining unit before Jan. 1, 2020 remain benefits eligible at .6 FTE.
  • Our staffing. For the rest of ’23, our ratios in the TG contract govern.
    • For the rest of the contract, Management will follow the state-staffing plan. If it doesn’t, we can grieve and arbitrate violations.

What’s new:

  • Floating. This was the one item MultiCare wanted more than anything. While mandatory floating across clinical service lines is permitted under our TG contract, it’s extremely rare (we couldn’t think of a time when it happened). Our goal was to make it equally as rare and as safe as possible.
    • No floating for the first four months following ratification.
    • Initial Orientation. Given that the floating would occur in a hospital that many of us have never stepped foot in, we would receive a variation of New Employee Orientation to Mary Bridge policies, administrative procedures, introductions to units, and then orientation to specific units.
    • “Competency” to take a patient care assignment.
      • Nurses would only be expected to take a patient care assignment if they meet the following criteria (note – the competency provisions don’t apply if a nurse is floated to be “helping hands” (in Mary Bridge, they call them “nurse extenders”)):
        • They are taking a patient care assignment of an age range of which is commonly seen in the NICU; or
        • They have previously worked the unit in which they are floating to and/or have cared for that unit’s patient population (meaning, the nurse *worked* on that unit at MB or in another hospital, not that they floated there before once); or
        • They have cross-trained to that patient population/unit (this is a voluntary and extensive process); or
        • They have oriented to that unit through the Low Census Bank process (see below – that’s a voluntary process that first requires UFCW’s agreement).
    • Float Order. UFCW’s float order would come first, as any floating would be to one of their units. Here’s how the float order would occur:
      • Volunteers – UFCW
        • Volunteers – WSNA
      • MultiCare System Float Pool Nurses
      • In-house Float Pool (UFCW Mary Bridge Resource Nurses)
      • Low Census Bank participants – UFCW
        • Low Census Bank participants – WSNA* (see below, this is only if we have UFCW agreement to join the Low Census Bank; if not, this step for us gets skipped)
      • Agency nurses
      • Traveler and Contracted Agency nurses
      • Per Diem Nurses* (Because per diem nurses aren’t a part of the union at the time we’re negotiating, we could not bargain for them. However, it’s our expectation that when per diems join, this step will be broken up so that UFCW/Mary Bridge per diems would float first, and then WSNA per diems.)
      • Equitable Rotation of FTE Nurses – UFCW
        • Equitable Rotation of FTE Nurses – WSNA

So, only if that entire list is exhausted and there are no competent nurses to float and take a patient assignment, or act as “nurse extenders (helping hands)” would NICU nurses get floated. Along with the language we won on “competency,” we found the possibility of mandatory floating to be highly remote.

  • Staffing Committee. We will be part of the MB staffing committee going forward; however, with agreement of the TG staffing committee, we are able to attend that committee meeting as a guest.
  • (pending agreement with UFCW) Low Census Bank Memorandum of Agreement (“MOU”). This MOU permits nurses to “bank” hours in the event they are LC’ed in exchange for agreeing to float to units to which they’ve been cross-trained (which is an extensive and detailed process). This is a voluntary process. This provision requires agreement by UFCW.
  • Bargaining team stipend. For their multiple volunteer days of bargaining, extra bargaining prep sessions, and union work away from the table and their families, MultiCare will provide each of the 6 bargaining team members with $2,500.


We are now our own bargaining unit. If you are excited/mad/unsure/enthused about our future as Mary Bridge nurses, get involved. Run for office. Become a union rep. Join a committee. For too long, many of us have sat on the sidelines. Now that we’re a bargaining unit of 150 (maybe 200 soon when the per diems join!), we need to stand on our own two feet. Contact nurse representative Brenda Balogh at bbalogh@wsna.org to get involved.

In solidarity,
The WSNA NICU bargaining team: 
Crystal Anderson
Rosie Robertson
Angela Moran
Kristina Madden
Monique Presutti
Ronna Crandall