Thank you all for taking time to come share your prior­i­ties and concerns with your Negoti­ating Team members and the WSNA Attorney during the seven meetings held last week.


What we heard:

Top 3 prior­i­ties in the survey (over 600 respon­dents) and echoed at the meetings:

  • Wages
  • Poor staffing and Alter­na­tive Staffing”
  • Retroac­tive pay vs. ratifi­ca­tion bonus

Additional issues brought forward at the meetings:

  • Walters Day Surgery and Main OR cross-training, protec­tions for nurses with greater seniority. 
  • Heart Cath/​EP manda­tory overtime due to unsched­uled and non-emergent add-on cases after shift end.
  • Incen­tive pay for short-staffing.
  • Workplace Violence and the recent hospital viola­tions and fines from DOSH (Division of Occupa­tional Safety and Health).
  • Diffi­culty getting rest and lunch breaks due to break-relief nurses being pulled; charge nurses having to take assign­ments and inade­quate support staff (mostly CNAs).
  • Floating to unfamiliar units where you have not received proper orien­ta­tion and float premium.
  • More detailed commu­ni­ca­tion prior to contract vote.
  • Have the Wage Compa­rable Charts at the contract vote.
  • Expanded time and days for contract vote.
  • Having to wait 60 days for pay increase during transi­tion between supple­mental part-time and per diem.

Infor­ma­tion shared at meeting:

Wage/​market info:

  • Wage and Premium pay compa­rable charts for SJMC and other competi­tors including Valley, St. Pete’s and Harborview. Wage Compa­ra­bles and Premium Compa­ra­bles are avail­able on the wsna​.org website. (Please note: The linked wage comps do not reflect the wage increases from the proposed contract. Under the proposed agree­ment, the St. Joe’s wages would have increased by 3% upon ratifi­ca­tion and another 3.5% on November 1.)
  • The February Consumer Price Index in Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue is 2.7.
  • The Rest Break Bill and it subse­quently passing in legis­la­ture, is going to the Governor for signature. 
  • WSNA Blue Fridays — wear your WSNA T‑shirts and buttons. Show Unity! (Note: Don’t risk your job. If a manager or super­visor tells you to remove a union button or t‑shirt, you should comply with the direc­tive and contact your WSNA repre­sen­ta­tive promptly. So, keep an extra scrub top handy.)
  • Nurse Staffing Law, new regula­tions begin­ning January 1, 2019 (Staffing Concerns” document).
  • Impor­tance of having nurses on the Safety Committee. 

The impor­tance of Filing Staffing Complaint/​ADO Forms:

  • You should try to file an ADO as soon as possible, but there is no time limit on when you can file it. 
  • The hospital cannot retal­iate against you for filing an ADO form. 
  • If the hospital is not following the staffing plan that is filed with DOH, you can fill out an ADO. 
  • If they are using alter­na­tive staffing”, you can fill out an ADO. 
  • Any nurse who is negatively impacted, whether because of faulty equip­ment, break-relief nurse or their charge nurse having to take assign­ments, and/​or missing rest breaks should fill out ADOs.
  • If you are floated to units where you have not been oriented, fill out an ADO. 
  • For more infor­ma­tion about new provi­sions of the Nurse Staffing Law taking effect January 1, 2019 see the Staffing Concerns” document. 

Nurse Staffing Committee:

  • Once the ADO is filed electron­i­cally, copies get emailed to the Nurse Staffing Committee Co-Chairs, your Local Unit Chair, WSNA Nurse Rep, and to your nurse manager if you input their email address. (See algorithm on document Staffing Concerns.”)
  • All Staffing Complaint/​ADOs are reviewed by the Nurse Staffing Committee. HR or your manager cannot dismiss or deem a Staffing Complaint/​ADO invalid.
  • The law says the hospital is supposed to staff according to the plan, and there may be shift-to-shift adjust­ments depending on need. If the hospital is not staffing according to plan or you disagree with shift-to-shift adjust­ment, you file an ADO. Those go to staffing committee, which must evaluate and respond to each complaint. If they can resolve it, they document as resolved. If it is not unresolved within a 60-day period, we will collect that aggre­gate data and file a complaint with DOH. Then DOH would inves­ti­gate those complaints. We can’t promise that if we file complaint with DOH that they will fix the process, but if we don’t do anything, we can’t help solve the problem.
  • WSNA requested infor­ma­tion on the hospital’s Alter­na­tive Staffing plan. We also sent a cease and desist letter. Surpris­ingly, their answer was, in essence, we don’t have a plan, we make it up as we go. See Blog on Alter­na­tive Staffing and Staffing Concerns” document.
  • View staffing plans submitted to DOH by St. Joseph Medical Center.

Rest Break Settle­ment:

It is crucial that you document when you are missing breaks, both in Kronos and submit­ting a Staffing Complaint/​ADO. Here is the latest update on the rest break settle­ment.

Engaging our Unit Reps and Activists:

  • Thank you to all those who expressed an interest in being a Unit Rep.
  • Activists can distribute buttons and T‑shirts (in non-work areas during non-work times) as long as you have them to give out. 
  • The most impor­tant factor is having face-to-face conver­sa­tions with each other, talking about what is impor­tant in your workplace, what is impor­tant to you in negoti­a­tions, and making sure that everyone is strong — together. 
  • When you do have a contract, enforce­ment of that contract continues. As Unit Reps or Activists, you are the eyes and ears of your Local Unit. Your elected Local Unit Officers need your help. 
  • Please contact Tara Barnes, Nurse Organizer at tbarnes@wsna.org if you want to be a Unit Rep; we need one for every shift on every unit.

Protected Concerted Activity:

Saying to your boss I’m just speaking for myself’ ” is not protected. If you tell the boss you are speaking for all the nurses, that is protected. Protec­tion is key. Examples of concerted protected activ­i­ties include:

  • Partic­i­pating in infor­ma­tion picket or other WSNA actions.
  • Attending local unit meetings.
  • Wearing a union button.
  • Wearing WSNA t‑shirt on blue Fridays.
  • Note: Don’t risk your job. If a manager or super­visor tells you to remove a union button or t‑shirt, you should comply with the direc­tive and contact your WSNA repre­sen­ta­tive promptly. So, keep an extra scrub top handy.

Work Stoppages or Strikes:

Whether or not there is a strike or other work stoppage, that is a decision the nurses in your Local would vote on and one where we must have unity to support. If there is going to be a work stoppage, such as a strike, nurse unions are required to give at least 10 days’ notice to give the employer an oppor­tu­nity to hire replace­ments, travelers. During a strike, you receive no pay and cannot access PTO unless it was requested and approved prior to the strike, you are not eligible for unemploy­ment, and your health benefits may be impacted. For more infor­ma­tion, see the Outline of the Law on Strikes and Lockouts.

If everyone is collec­tively wearing WSNA buttons or t‑shirts, the hospital probably won’t try to retal­iate against you. Filing ADOs or using the griev­ance proce­dure is your right under the contract and if your manager threatens you or tries to intim­i­date you, that is an unfair labor practice. Contact your WSNA Nurse Rep right away (hwelander@wsna.org)

Your team knows that all of you are talking. Let’s keep up the momentum. When we get the next bargaining date, we will ask you for your help. Stay tuned for that!

Questions? Contact WSNA Nurse Repre­sen­ta­tive Hanna Welander at hwelander@wsna.org.