WSNA New Year’s newsletter for the amazing RNs at UWMC Montlake

We are just coming off the most unpredictable two years we have known in our nursing careers. The dust has settled, the faces have changed, the staffing is still short, we still miss breaks, and RNs coming into the workplaces are at a record low. So, what do we have to celebrate? We achieved great pay raises!

Raises are happening!

After a 5% raise on August 1, you should see a 6% raise if you are on steps 1-5 and a 4% raise for all other nursing staff up to step 30 as of January 1 of this year. The next scheduled raise will increase your salaries on July 1 of this year, with another 9% for 18% in just 11 months. The final raise of a 3% increase will be realized as of July 1, 2024, for a whopping total of 21-23% raise over the life of the contract. Your bargaining team of RNs worked hard to achieve these goals and were relentless in keeping wages as the top priority of the membership front and center. The goal, of course, was higher wages for better retention and recruitment.

Pre-Scheduled Voluntary Double Time MOU went into effect on October 1, replacing a previous lump sum incentive MOU

Since the DT MOU began on October 1, it was brought to our attention that the employer has not paid the Rest Between Shift premium (Short Break Pay) when a DT shift is worked then followed by an RN coming back for a regularly scheduled shift without the minimum 11 hours of sleep between these two shifts.

We immediately raised a red flag because we brought it up in bargaining, and the employer did not exclude that premium within the MOU as they did for the inability to stack it with Call Back or Standby time.

We met with the employer on two occasions and discussed this issue, along with the inconsistent application of the MOU in different departments.

We were able to come to an agreement and establish practices to be rolled out house wide.

  • RBS will be paid going back to October 1: This payment will be paid to RNs sometime in January. This is great news! We encourage all RNs that believe that they were not paid in a situation of working a DT incentive shift followed by a regularly scheduled shift and did not have 11 hours off in between to shoot your manager an email and let them know that you were informed that you are eligible for such RBS going back to Oct. 1 and for the duration of the contract.
  • We also agreed that DT incentive shifts must be a minimum of 4 hours.
  • Both manager and the volunteering RN must also agree to minimize any misunderstandings. This is best achieved by putting the agreement into an email or text for your records.
  • Lastly, we agreed that if an RN arrives late for this DT Incentive Shift or is released early, they still qualify for DT for all hours worked.

Safe Staffing Legislation

Prime sponsor Senator June Robinson introduced safe staffing legislation in the Senate. Because it is a new biennium, Senator Robinson introduced a new bill with a new bill number. However, the bill is similar to the bill passed in the House in 2022. Most components of the bill go into effect after it is passed. The exception is the implementation of safe staffing standards to provide time for related workforce development provisions to go into effect. Rural critical access hospitals with fewer than 25 acute care beds and Sole Community hospitals are given extra time to meet the safe staffing standards. The bill has three critical pieces:

  1. Safe staffing standards.
  2. Improved staffing committee functions and accountability mechanisms.
  3. Improved enforcement of existing laws, including meal and rest breaks and mandatory overtime.

The bill also moves implementation and enforcement of the staffing provisions to the Department of Labor & Industries. One major change between the 2022 version of the bill and 2023 is that staffing standards are no longer included in statute but will be developed through a rule-making process with the Department of Labor & Industries.

Please stay tuned for what you can do to aid in this effort! SAFE STAFFING SAVES LIVES!

There are many ways to help support the passing of this bill; from stickering up to in-person testimonials.

Please contact your WSNA Nurse Organizer if you want to be heard or help in any way. wesper@wsna.org, 206-713-2443.

To find out more about the WSNA legislation priorities and get a SB 5236 summary, please visit:

Stay tuned for more updates and actions arriving via email from our hard-working Legislative Team in days to come.

The 2023 Washington State Nurses Convention is happening May 17-19 in the Greater Tacoma Convention Center

Registration is open for the 2023 Washington State Nurses Convention. Early Bird pricing ends 1/27/23, so lock in your pricing today!

We will gather at the airy, modern Greater Tacoma Convention Center for three days of education, inspiration, and celebration. This is a time to network, connect, and gather strength from one another. Nurses have emerged from the pandemic more powerful than ever, and it’s our time to harness that power.

An impressive lineup of local and national speakers will address topics like speaking up for yourself and your patients, ending structural ableism, leadership in extraordinary times, self-care, creating a future you want, and promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Many WSNA Local Units are paying for a predetermined number of their RNs to attend this event, so contact your WSNA Local Unit officers, Nurse Representative, or WSNA Nurse Organizer and find out. You can watch a video on the event location and REGISTER!

It is also important to know that Education Leave hours and funds may be used to assist in your attendance to this conference with managerial preapproval.

There are limited slots available for scholarships, so contact WSNA Nurse Organizer Will Nesper if you would like to be considered. Will’s email is wnesper@wsna.org.

Safety changes happening at UWMC ML and NW

Spurred by a series of concerning events, UWMC has taken steps to bolster security for staff at UWMC ML and NW, especially in the Emergency Departments where many safety concerns arise.

WSNA relayed concerns from RNs and engaged in discussions with the employer about their obligation to create effective and lasting safety improvements for staff at both campuses.
Below are things UWMC leadership is working on to enhance the safety and security of all persons in the ED at UWMC ML and NW:

(This plan includes both short-term and long-term strategic security considerations)

  • Alieu Ann is now taking the lead on a Strategic Security Plan (for both campuses)
  • 24/7 Public Safety Officer post has now been added to NW ED, whereas this has existed at UWMC
  • There will be immediate improvements to the camera systems and general entrances to the ED
  • New training at both sites will include “Well training,” which includes “Trauma Informed Care” and “De-escalation.” Travel RNs will receive this training in a condensed version online
  • Additional DEI training has been completed at both sites
  • There will be monthly meetings and debriefs with UW Police Dept. at the Montlake campus
  • The development of BERT Teams (Behavioral Emergency Response) at both facilities starting in February of 2023
  • Selective weapons screening based on behavioral assessment (ESET) starting Jan 3 at both sites
  • New locks have been installed in the behavioral health unit at NW
  • Both Hospitals are being assessed for reduction of entry points for after-hour access— (This has been implemented at NW access changes)
  • UWMC has hired a third-party vendor to conduct a comprehensive Safety and Security Assessment at both campuses— Clinical Security Solutions will conduct both comprehensive physical security and security risk assessments, etc. of both UWMC EDs (Kick-off meeting took place 12/19).

Personal Days are yours to use as part of your Holiday bank

Per our contract, if an RN does not use their personal day by December 31, the time may be lost. Be sure to use this personal day first when planning time off in 2023.

Here is the relevant contract language from Article 12.1.1:

12.1.1 Personal Holiday. 1) Each nurse may request one personal holiday each calendar year and the Manager must grant this day, provided: a) The nurse has been continuously employed by the institution for more than four (4) months; b) The nurse has made the request in accordance with the department scheduling guidelines; however, the nurse and the supervisor may agree upon an earlier date; and c) The number of nurses selecting a particular day off does not prevent providing continued public service. 2) Entitlement to the holiday will not lapse when denied under (1)(c) above. 3) Full-time nurses shall receive eight (8) hours of regular holiday pay for the personal holiday. Any differences between the scheduled shift for the day and eight (8) hours may be adjusted by use of vacation time off, use or accumulation of compensatory time or holiday credit as appropriate, or unpaid time off. 4) Part-time classified nurses shall be entitled to the number of paid hours on a personal holiday that are pro-rated to their FTE.

You have earned it, so please don’t let it go!

Education leave and funds are available for RNs to use…claim yours!

UWMC provides, as part of our negotiated contract Article 8, not only PAID time off for RNs to attend Educational and Professional Leave events but they also offer up to $250 in funds to assist in the payment of such offerings (pending manager approval). The Employer will grant a minimum of twenty-four (24) hours of professional educational leave within the fiscal year (currently July 1 - June 30) to nurses requesting such leave. Such leave may be used if staffing permits and shall be prorated for part-time nurses. For sections 8.3 and 8.4 only, .9 FTE and above should be considered full-time. In addition, nurses may be granted up to an additional sixteen (16) hours (pro-rated for part-time) of education and professional leave at the nurse's regular pay rate during the fiscal year. Such additional leave shall be subject to budgetary considerations, scheduling requirements, subject matter, and approval by the employer.

This time may be used to attend:

  1. Short-term conferences or programs for educational, leadership, and professional growth and development in nursing.
  2. Enhancement and expansion of clinical skills for RN positions at UWMC – Montlake.
  3. Meetings and committee activities of the nurses' respective professional associations, designed to develop and promote programs to improve the quality and availability of nursing service and health care.
  4. Those in-service educational programs attended voluntarily.
  5. Educational programs necessary to maintain licensure or certification.

RNs also have access to $250-$500 that can be used to pay for continuing education.

From the beginning of the fiscal year through the end of February of the following year, each nurse shall be guaranteed up to two hundred and fifty dollars ($250.00) (pro-rated for part-time nurses) to pay for continuing education expenses.

Effective March 1, the unspent portion of the two hundred and fifty dollars ($250.00) per bargaining unit FTE shall be pooled on a UWMC - Montlake-wide basis. From March 1 through the end of the fiscal year (June 30), the fund shall be allocated on an equitable basis. There shall be an annual maximum usage of five hundred dollars ($500.00) per nurse, pro-rated for part-time nurses (which includes that portion of the two hundred and fifty dollars ($250.00) per bargaining unit FTE used by the nurse). Nurses may request to be reimbursed for continuing education expenses incurred prior to March 1 that exceeded the nurses' guaranteed allocation.

These education hours and funds typically go underutilized, so make sure you make plans today to set aside time to include some personal growth through continuing education.

Your membership has never mattered more…

WSNA is proud to represent the intelligent and compassionate RNs working throughout UWMC Montlake and NW.

Now is the perfect time to stand with your colleagues in solidarity around issues like Safe Staffing Standards, competitive wages and having an overall voice in your workplace.

WSNA relies on the expertise and advisement of our registered nurse members to lead the way in creating priorities and achieving goals beneficial to your safety and longevity as an employee at UWMC.

All of the wonderful benefits are a culmination of decades of negotiations and advocacy from WSNA along with our registered nurse union leaders at UWMC. The gains that have been made were hard fought and only with a solid and united membership will we be able to keep those benefits and build on them.

If you are not a member, now is the time to join the majority of RNs working at UWMC that have elected to not only become members but be engaged.

Your voice at the table matters and that can only be achieved through an active membership.

(Receipt of the newsletter is not an indication that you are a member in good standing. If you are unsure as to your membership status, please contact Nurse Organizer Will Nesper at wnesper@wsna.org.)

To fill out and submit your membership application online today, please see https://www.wsna.org/membership/application.

Together we bargain, divided we beg…

ADOs/Staffing Complaint Forms create a record of events…. Use them every time!

Be diligent in filling out Staffing Complaint/ADO forms. These are reviewed monthly in Nurse Staffing Committee meetings to determine the issue, the resolution and whether or not the staffing matrix for a unit is adequate.

It is the very review and tracking of ADOs that allows WSNA to identify areas of staffing and safety concerns. Only then can we have needed conversations around ways to fix the staffing shortages with UWMC leadership. All ADOs/Staffing Complaint Forms should always be addressed by the manager in concert with the person filling them out within the first week after submission. They then go to the Nurse Staffing Committee for review of the problem and proposed remedy.

In order to stay up to date on everything happening, visit WSNA.org and go to UWMC Montlake home page. If you would like to join the private WSNA Private Facebook group for UWMC Montlake, use this link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/uwmcmontlakerns/.

For questions about any content in this newsletter or regarding your wages, hours and working conditions, contact one of your Local Unit officers or WSNA Nurse Representative below:

Teresa Wren twren@hotmail.com
Chris Jakubowski chrisjakubowski@comcast.net
Doug Harper douglasharper@me.com
Jan Bower lyubabower@gmail.com
Charles James chuckj@msn.com
Edward Zercher WSNA Nurse Representative ezercher@wsna.org