The latest bargaining update:
Thank you to all nurses who attended the Unity Dinner/Informational Meeting on Wednesday evening. We appreciated all the great questions and comments made during and after the presentation regarding the team’s plans with regard to wage increases. Your input helped with our presentation to the employer the next day!
When our officers, WSNA, bargaining team members and attorney met with the employer on Thursday, Oct. 3, this was our 11th Session. This process has taken a long time – too long. But our priority is a fair contract for our nurses at Whidbey. As you are aware, management has consistently refused to provide a wage increase and has instead been suggesting a one-year contract.
Moreover, through much of these negotiations, management has taken very hard lines on many issues that are of importance to the bargaining unit. We were able make progress on numerous items and have a few Tentative Agreements (TA) from yesterday’s session, including Nurse Staffing Committee language.
After much research and obtaining our own independent expert advice, we do have reason to believe the Hospital is in financial trouble. But, we also have reason to believe they could turn this around if they run the Hospital properly. We have also reminded them that they cannot run the Hospital without nurses, knowing some of our nurses are going off island to work in other hospitals.
In light of the Hospital’s precarious financial situation, our team presented the Hospital with a unique proposal that would at least offer the bargaining unit nurses the possibility of wage increases, if the Hospital’s financial situation increased and reached a certain “trigger.” We were very optimistic that the Employer would appreciate and agree with our proposal, which would delay any wage increase until the Hospital could afford to provide it. Although the Hospital did agree our proposal was an “aggressive and creative offer” and followed up with “It would be great to resolve this today,” they came back with “This is not something we can do.” The Hospital responded with a counter which set the trigger at such a high level, we could not reasonably expect the trigger to be met, or wage increases to be implemented, during the term of the contract. That is not acceptable.
In the end, our team made one more slight modification but maintained our “trigger” proposal. We let the Employer know that the nurses would not ratify a contract that included NO chance of a wage increase and the deal we were offering was more than fair.
WSNA is also holding management accountable for unlawful actions it has taken during these negotiations, including refusing to provide information that WSNA needs for bargaining and mischaracterizing WSNA’s positions to the bargaining unit. Just today, WSNA has filed another unfair labor practice over management making statements to nurses intended to discourage them from bringing issues to their union’s attention.
To show the employer that we are in solidarity and want a fair contract, remember to wear blue on Fridays, wear your WSNA badge pulls and WSNA buttons. Continue to talk to each other about the importance of being strong and supportive to the cause. Watch for another Unity meeting or some other type of activity to bring us all together.
Reminder: PTO Donations! The team is counting on your help since every negotiation session we attend is unpaid. Our only options are to use our PTO or take No Pay to attend negotiations. Please support us and donate some PTO. Any amount helps. Per the agreement, one hour is the minimum you can donate. Thanks to those who have already made donations! The unit that raises the most PTO hours will get a prize based on donations by unit/number of nurses, so smaller units have a just as good a shot at winning!
Donation forms are being collected by Gwen Parrick, Local Unit Chair. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our Bargaining Team:
Gwen Parrick email@example.com; Jeremy Aaron firstname.lastname@example.org; Laura Black email@example.com; Ann Bell firstname.lastname@example.org; Bonita Garcia email@example.com; Dori Painter firstname.lastname@example.org; Jessica Shaffer email@example.com; Mary Meek firstname.lastname@example.org; Luka MacKay email@example.com; Lucylyn Sinette firstname.lastname@example.org; Sarah-Lyn Clark email@example.com; Michael Aube firstname.lastname@example.org
Questions? Contact any of the nurses and/or officers listed above, or WSNA Nurse Representative Terri Williams, MS, RN; email@example.com.