We have heard from you that you would like more communication from WSNA specific to us Overlake RNs. We have heard you and will commit to sending more regular updates. Last night we held two conference calls and lots of Overlake nurses were able to dial in and speak to us directly with your concerns. If this is something you want to see happen more often, let us know and we will try to set that up.
In this update
- Floating and job protections
- PPE/DOSH complaint
- List of resources
Accommodations – If you believe your personal medical circumstances warrant a reasonable accommodation, you should contact employee health or the HR business partner for your unit, Terry Wilson or Suzanne Rodriguez. If you are not sure who is assigned to your area, contact HR. Overlake is considering these requests on a case-by-case basis.
Floating and job protections – The floating language in our collective bargaining agreement (articles 8.5 and 9.7) remains in effect. Find our contract at https://www.wsna.org/union/overlake-hospital-medical-center. When floating, we cannot be required to take a patient assignment for which we are not trained to safely provide care.
You may have to make a decision about accepting an assignment involving abnormally dangerous conditions that pose an imminent risk to your safety and health and could potentially cause serious injury or death. If you have already accepted the assignment your professional license may be at risk if you fail to continue that assignment, unless you have handed off the assignment and been relieved of responsibility for the patient. If you decide to refuse the assignment, you should remain at the workplace and offer to perform other work that does not pose an imminent risk to your safety and health (e.g., an assignment for which you are provided proper safety equipment and training). A decision to refuse an assignment could result in disciplinary action taken against you by the employer. Under the collective bargaining agreement between the employer and WSNA, there must be“just cause” for any discipline. WSNA would defend you if you are subjected to unjust discipline, but resolution of any such discipline would likely be delayed and the outcome may be uncertain as a result of the current national and state emergency declarations.
PPE/DOSH complaint – Many nurses are reporting lack of access to proper PPE, including N95 respirators, as well as lack of training on using PPE. WSNA believes that these working conditions are not best practices and put your health and safety at risk. On behalf of the bargaining unit members at Overlake Medical Center, WSNA has filed a complaint with the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries Division of Occupational Safety and Health. WSNA’s DOSH complaint includes the following:
Nurses are being found to have been exposed to a COVID pos patient and are not being tested by employee health without showing “required” symptoms (determined by the hospital). RNs are being made to reuse CAPR face shields indefinitely. They must clean them themselves and place in receptacle and store in their own locker for reuse day after day, until the hospital determines the chinstrap is loose. RNs report the chinstrap is loose after one 12-hr shift.
They are inappropriately reusing PPE and reports that RNs performing nebulizing treatments are not allowed to wear CAPRs. Notification of exposure by employer via e‑mail not reaching nurses during days off, thus prompting additional community and family exposure.
The employer has failed to furnish to each of his or her employees a place of employment free from recognized hazards that are causing or likely to cause serious injury or death to his or her employees, in violation of RCW 49.17.060.
The employer has failed to do everything reasonably necessary to protect the life and safety of employees, in violation of WAC 296 – 155-040(2).
The employer has failed to provided and maintained, at the employer’s expense, personal protective equipment whenever physical contact, adsorption, or inhalation of a hazard could cause injury or impairment to employees, in violation of WAC 296 – 155-200(1)(a) and (b).
The employer is in violation of WAC 296 – 126-094, the General Duty Clause. Nurse requires a size small N95 mask, but employer does not have these. Nurse was told to “improvise. Some COVID positive pts are in rooms without negative pressure and recently received nebulizing treatment. No airborne precautions sign posted. RN went into the room wearing PPE for contact precautions to respond to IV pump and so was potentially exposed.
ADOs – Many of us have completed these online forms to document our unsafe working conditions. These forms have helped WSNA secure more PPE through state and federal channels, as well as provided documentation for the DOSH complaint. We have heard reports of managers saying that these forms are only for staffing complaints. That is untrue. It is appropriate and helpful to complete both the ADO form and a MIDAS. The ADO can be completed from home, at anytime after the fact. Find the ADO at www.wsna.org/ADO.
Resources – Visit https://www.wsna.org/union/overlake-hospital-medical-center for a list of links to resources during the COVID crisis.
Contact any WSNA officer or WSNA Nurse Representative Sydne James with any questions or concerns, firstname.lastname@example.org.
In solidarity, your WSNA officers.
Chris Birchem, Chair; Jennifer Carney, Secretary; Brenda Elliott, treasurer; Gemma Aranda, Grievance Officer; Kathryn Geren, Grievance Officer; Brook Dodd, Grievance Officer; Andrew Meeks, Membership Officer