Overflowing Hospi­tals
At the onset of the COVID crisis everyone was fearful the pandemic would cause hospi­tals to overflow with patients, nurses would be working huge amounts of overtime, and there would be a need to float nurses between facil­i­ties. WSNA moved swiftly and success­fully negoti­ated an agree­ment with Multi­Care to protect nurses in those situa­tions as well as nurses that were at high risk due to age or under­lying health condi­tions as is reflected in our first Multi­Care COVID related Memorandum of Agree­ment (MOA)

Inade­quate PPE
Our next surprise was that Multi­Care was not providing adequate PPE. At that time, after giving the matter a great deal of consid­er­a­tion, WSNA filed a complaint with the Division of Occupa­tional Safety and Health (DOSH) of Labor and Indus­tries (L&I). That inves­ti­ga­tion is currently in process.
Next, we learned there was a PPE shortage nation­wide and Multi­Care was rationing PPE. Mask distri­b­u­tion became controlled by manage­ment with little trans­parency of the supply. Nurses are being forced to wear PPE that was intended for one-time use, repeat­edly until broken, soiled or for an entire shift. This was added to our DOSH complaint.

Volun­tary Furloughs
Recently Multi­Care sent out notifi­ca­tion they would be offering volun­tary furloughs. WSNA along with SEIU and UFCW joined together to do what we could to improve the terms and condi­tions Multi­Care was providing in the volun­tary furlough offer. Together the unions bargained with Multi­Care terms which include the following:

  • Volun­tary furloughs would be honored according to seniority.
  • Nurses will not be required to be on standby while on furlough.
  • Nurses may use PTO, take the time unpaid, or seek unemploy­ment benefit insur­ance while on furlough.
  • Multi­Care will gener­ally not contest unemploy­ment claims.
  • Nurses shall keep their seniority, anniver­sary date and be allowed to apply for jobs while on furlough.
  • Medical benefits will be maintained during furlough.
  • If a layoff should occur while the employee is on furlough, the employee status shall be deter­mined as if the employee was in active status.

Take Action
WSNA has been, and is contin­uing to work hard with the hospital, local, state, and federal leaders to try and rectify the PPE situa­tion and to ensure this does not happen again in the future. We are also contin­uing to fight for hazard pay while nurses are not provided adequate PPE. If you have not signed the petition for Safe Working Condi­tions and Hazard Pay please follow this link and sign the petition now.

Contract Negoti­a­tions Update
Previ­ously we announced that contract negoti­a­tions would be delayed due to the COVID-19 crisis. Recently WSNA proposed a 1‑year contract exten­sion with a 4.5% wage increase to Multi­Care Good Samar­itan leader­ship so that nurses and manage­ment could focus on the COVID-19 crisis. Multi­Care Good Samar­itan rejected that proposal. As a result, we will be engaging Multi­Care at the bargaining table in the near future. We will commu­ni­cate bargaining dates once they are confirmed.

Your Concerns
Please file an Assign­ment Despite Objec­tion (ADO) Form when you have a staffing concern or a concern related to your working condi­tions. These forms are for any kind of concern from inade­quate PPE, to staffing ratios and every­thing in between. These forms provide documen­ta­tion of what is really happening. They are reviewed by the staffing committee, have been used in DOSH complaints, and are hugely impor­tant. They are electronic and easy to do: https://​www​.wsna​.org/union/ado

More Resources
For more COVID related resources follow this link: https://​www​.wsna​.org/​n​u​r​s​i​n​g​-​p​r​a​c​t​i​c​e/COVID-19

In Solidarity,
Travis Elmore RN, BSN-RN-BC
WSNA Nurse Repre­sen­ta­tive
Contact me at Telmore@WSNA.org or 206 – 575-7979 ext. 3117