Most of us were surprised to receive a Bargaining Update” from KRMC in our mailbox recently. We’ve done our best to trans­late and rebut that letter below. We have picked out key things, in the order that they were presented in the mailer. Feel free to ask questions, we’ll do our best to answer. (Portions of the mailer are in bold and itali­cized).

Although we usually have exten­sion agree­ments during negoti­a­tions to keep the contract in effect, this time, at WSNA’s request, the contract lapsed on Sept. 30, 2018”.

This is accurate, however, please realize that you are still protected under the terms of the expired contract. Anyone who remem­bers the ordeal we faced three years will remember that in order for us, as a unified body, to do things like rallies, pickets or strikes we have to allow the contract to expire. Exten­sion agree­ments, when the two parties are too far apart, benefit no one. KRMC has not shown us any indica­tion that they are willing to budge on the takeaways they’ve proposed; there­fore we’ve seen no reason to extend our contract and offer them certain protec­tions against the actions mentioned above.

We have offered increases that range from 2.25 to 2.5% in annual across-the-board increase, plus the existing step increase of approx­i­mately 2%.”

KRMC frequently likes to combine these two separate wage rates into one, to make their offer sound better than it actually is. The facts are these:

  • The average” step increase is 2%, however, there are steps where the increase is even less than 1%. For those people, their annual raise could be as low as 3% total.
  • These steps are based on hours served, and if you’re a part-timer, you most likely won’t get a step raise every year.
  • Rewarding experi­ence and seniority in the nursing profes­sion are not unique to KRMC. Almost every hospital pays its nurses this way and still keeps up with basic cost of living raises.

In case you haven’t seen the chart circu­lating around Facebook, we’ve included it here:

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Ordinarily, you would have received increases on January 1st”.

We won’t be made to feel guilty about fighting to get what you deserve. We will also fight for raises to be back-paid.

Parental Leave & Short Term Disability

KRMC spends the next couple of paragraphs intro­ducing changes to our current STD plan. This includes increasing pay from 60% to 65% as well as extending STD benefits to new fathers. While we appre­ciate this, the reality is that Washington state, begin­ning in 2020 was already going to mandate these actions. And let’s not forget all of the downfalls of Short-Term Disability:

  • 7 calendar days of your own time must be used before it goes into effect
  • Third party admin­is­trator decides whether you’re granted your time off
  • The last 3 years working with Sedgwick haven’t exactly been smooth sailing. There are many nurses who can attest to this.

They also conve­niently failed to mention that any remaining EIB nurses may have will be lost in 2020.

Staffing Commit­tees

We have made proposals that align with the state law on Nurse Staffing Commit­tees and do not agree to allow an outside third party to decide staffing disputes”.

You’d think a hospital wouldn’t fight us to assure that there are enough nurses hired to allow nurses their proper rest and meal breaks or enough sched­uled to safely care for their patient load, but we just can’t seem to get them to agree to the most basic language stating this. Also, it’s a little ironic that a third party is no big deal when it comes to our medical time off disputes (Sedgwick), but suddenly KRMC doesn’t want to deal with a third party” (WSNA) when it comes to staffing disputes.

Paid Time Off – a Compet­i­tive PTO program”

Many of you have likely seen the chart circu­lated by us showing the loss of PTO. KRMC included a chart as well. Their own chart doesn’t lie and shows exactly how much PTO is lost every year. At almost every step past your two-year anniver­sary with KRMC, you LOSE PTO! At the 9 to 10-year mark, there’s a loss of almost 2 full weeks. There is zero justi­fi­ca­tion for these proposed takeaways.

In addition to this, the maximum amount of PTO to keep in your bank has been drasti­cally cut in their proposal. Our current contract allows for 480 hours to be banked. Here’s a brief history lesson: three years ago, as KRMC stole our EIB, the one conces­sion WSNA wanted was the ability for nurses to accrue enough time off to cover a FMLA leave – since we could no longer rely on EIB. Remember, short term disability does NOT cover/​pay you if you should need to use FMLA for a family member. KRMC now wants to take this away as well. Based on their proposal, the maximum amount of PTO to bank ranges from 300 hours to 420 hours after 15+ years’ experi­ence.

In order to help with the transi­tion, we have proposed extra PTO for nurses who will earn less PTO under the new plan – up to 2 extra days in 2020 and 1 extra day in 2021”.

Frankly, we don’t need help with the transi­tion. WE WON’T TAKE THE TRANSI­TION. We stand to lose almost 2 weeks of PTO every year. That cannot be replaced by a 1‑time offer of 3 extra days. This conces­sion is border­line insulting.

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Union Member­ship

WSNA has proposed that each nurse be required to pay dues or fees to be employed here.”

We are addressing this topic out of order, mostly to drive home the fact that this is KRMC’s favorite tool to cause division. First, it should be pointed out that WSNA has agreed to let current nurses working at KRMC to remain under the current language (opt out if desired). We are, though, fighting for all new hires to have fair share member­ships to WSNA.

There is a reason KRMC wants to fight this so hard – they KNOW unions are powerful. This battle we are currently having, the battle we had three years ago, and any of the past battles we’ve had would never had taken place without a union, and nurses would have suffered signif­i­cant losses. You don’t have to look very far to see the drastic differ­ence: Kadlec Clinic Nurses are not covered under a union. Their wages & PTO benefits are signif­i­cantly different than ours, not to mention they don’t have the protec­tions from work redesign and/​or layoffs the way we do. Unions are strong, and any attempt KRMC can take to divide us, is a win for them. Don’t be fooled by their motiva­tion here.

We are strong, we are many, and we should not have to be fighting this hard for a fair contract. But we will!

In solidarity,

Your WSNA negoti­ating team: Jacob Garcia (CDU), Martha Galvez (Birth Center), Vanessa Douglas (ICU), Toni Ledridge (PAS), Kathy Peot (Resource), Marianne Sturte­vant (OR), Meri Bukovinsky (CDU), Joyce McMurphy (NICU), (Anthony) Tony Jones (Cath Lab), Joy Barclay (DI)

Questions? Contact WSNA Nurse Rep Jayson Dick, MBA, BSN, RN at (206) 858‑2139.