Dear WSNA Members,
Thank you to all the nurses who participated in our survey regarding postponing the contractual 3% raise due April 1, 2020. Many of you personally contacted your nurse representative and local unit leaders. Thank you for your input. It was a tough decision to make and the survey indicated that our members felt the same way. The results of the survey were very close. We had 353 respondents. In the end, there were 11 more votes “no” than “yes”. This was not an official vote. This was a guide to help the officers who serve you decide within 7 days.
How did the officers come to the decision? On April 9, management made the request. The facts we were given at the time were the following.
- Due to the loss in revenue from elective surgeries and other mitigation attempts to avoid the spread of the COVID-19 virus. (We were told different numbers but basically, they were facing a 33% decrease in their operating margin.)
- Dr. Rutherford had met with upper management at Confluence Health. He was taking a reduction in his salary, as well as all upper and middle management, MDs, PAs and ARNPs.
- All non-contractual employees (those not represented by UFCW21 and WSNA) will have their annual revues postponed until June or July. Their raises are tied to their annual revues.
- Other phases may include layoffs of non-clinical employees, voluntary leaves of absence
We understand that many people responded to the survey but would have liked more facts, considering the employee townhall with Dr. Rutherford, email he sent to all employees, and the press release sent out in the Wenatchee World. Some nurses contacted us with concerns about not having enough information to make an informed decision. We acknowledge these concerns and we heard you.
So how did we come to the decision to say no at this time? We went through the following process:
- The officers and your nurse representative had many conversations starting April 11 and into the weekend.
- We met with our WSNA attorney and our WSNA director.
- We weighed our options.
- Just say no. We have a contract.
- Negotiate a temporary MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) that would require a vote of our members. This would take at least 3 weeks to turn around. In this kind of vote, only members in good standing can vote.
- We decided to do a quick survey of our members to check their pulse on this issue.
- This required a very quick turnaround.
- The survey was launched on Monday, April 13.
- Our meeting with management was scheduled at 3:30pm on Wednesday, April 15.
- They needed an answer by Thursday, April 16 because that’s when the increase was to be processed.
- During a time when nurses are on the front line of exposure, many of our hospitals are agreeing to hazard pay. The hospital did not engage with us on a coalition MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) with UFCW21 that would have provided a lot of protections during this pandemic for our nurses. We offered this to management first on March 13 and again on March 31. Our requests were essentially ignored. Mid-term, they do not have an obligation to negotiate with us but through the years, CWH has come to us with many requests that we agreed to engage with them on.
- They could have come to us much earlier. We would have had more time to engage with our members and help them make the decision. But we didn’t have that kind of time. It put your local leaders in a very difficult position.
- Your WSNA officers and WSNA nurse representative have been having weekly meetings with management since the middle of March and we continue to meet with them weekly on Mondays.
- Faced with the decision and given the information we had, including the survey results, we decided to tell them no.
- This was a very heavy weighted decision and your officers looked at our options methodically looking at all the reasons for either decision.
We know this has been a huge financial hit, not only for CWH, but for all healthcare facilities across the world. We also know that there is help from the State and Federal governments. How much CWH can acquire is unknown and was not a huge factor in our decision-making process, but it was also a consideration.
Our goal is to work collaboratively with management, as we have historically. We’re all in this together.
Crystal Clabaugh, Nicholas Jackson, Lorna Sebastian, Stefanie Gates, Paul Stamilio, Michelle Rae, Paul Molenaar, Morgan Sisson, and Carmen Garrison