WSNA continues to advocate for your safety, as we know how hard that you are working during this difficult time. Please know that your health and safety are our greatest concern.
WSNA is making sure we don’t just “settle” for a contract. We want it to be fair and work for us. We know that we are in uncertain times and are proposing a one-year interim contract through 11/6/2020, with a raise of 3.5% effective 11/6/2019. This interim contract will provide us with stability and protection through this challenging time and allow us to resume negotiations and continue focusing on key issues once the pandemic is over.
COVID-19 Memorandum of Understanding:
We are also focusing on the COVID MOU language. We’re advocating for compensation and benefits to address low census, furloughs, and paid administrative leave if you are exposed and more. We have already shared info on state benefits available to you and will continue to update you with additional resources and information as we move through this crisis.
We are focusing on these two key pieces of work because we want you to be able to focus on the important things at hand. We have shared our idea for an interim contract with Virginia Mason and now are awaiting their response.
Change in your Local Officers
Congratulations to Suzanna Avery on your new exciting career, becoming a DNP midwife :) We thank you and grateful for your leadership as the WSNA chair and all that you have done for your local union. We wish you the best. With this change Natasza Marchak your co- chair will move into the Chair position. The executive committee has per your by-laws has appointed Janelle Coy from the OIC as your interim co-chair.
Your WSNA officers and Nurse Representative continue to be inundated with your questions and concerns. We hear you that you are not getting answers from the command center or employee health, that you are getting mixed messages, and that you are receiving misinformation. When that occurs, contact any WSNA officer first. If they cannot answer your question, they will direct you to Nurse Rep Michelle Moore.
If you have a staffing or safety concern, please file a Staffing Complaint form/ADO form..These ADOs help the union be informed of your concerns and could protect you in a court of law, if needed. The hospital also requires you to file a PSA (just copy and paste the concern from your ADO) so they can help address the issue; remember, PSAs are not discoverable and therefore will not protect you in a court of law. Discussion of the Staffing Complaint Forms/ADOs are part of the monthly Staffing Committee agenda.
The petition for hazard pay, how would that work?
Your bargaining team has presented a hazard pay proposal to Virginia Mason as part of our negotiations around COVID-19 related issues. In addition, WSNA developed a petition as part of a union coalition that includes SEIU 1199NW and UFCW 21. This is a statewide petition to garner support from the public, asking for employers and public officials to offer more protections for all hospital staff, as well as hazard pay.
I’m in peri-operative services or procedure area and am concerned about floating and low census.
During this state of emergency and constantly changing conditions, our collective bargaining remains in effect. Refer to articles 6.2(low census) and 5.6 (floating) in our CBA . We have been told by Virginia Mason “Bargaining unit nurses have access to their entire sick leave accruals for low census, childcare due to the executive order to close school and all the other usual condition for which they previously had access.” Reach out to your officers or WSNA rep if you have questions regarding this.
Can I be required to work overtime?
During this declared state of emergency, the employer is not required to exhaust all methods to fill staffing shortages prior to mandating overtime, as normally required by law. (RCW 49.28.130).
How can I get a workplace accommodation?
Virginia Mason has instructed nurses to fill out the ADA form and return to Ann Marrs who is sending it to LOA representative. Applying our ADA Accommodations process to COVID-19 related concerns, including those who are concerned due to age, pregnancy, or secondary health issues (but not ill) based on public health officials’ recommendations. They are looking at reasonable accommodations within the current position (such as assigned to zones, floors or patients who are not rule out or positive COVID-19 patients). Alternatively, provide time off. Checking in either weekly or bi-weekly regarding accommodation plan(s).
I am being told to float to a unit and care for patients I am not trained to care for, with only minimum training and orientation.
I’m scared on so many levels.
Per our CBA, Article 5.7 Floating. “The Hospital retains the right to change the nurse’s daily work assignment on a shift by shift basis to meet patient care needs. Nurses will be expected to perform all basic nursing functions but will not be required to perform tasks or procedures specifically applicable to the nursing unit for which they are not qualified or trained to perform. Nurses required to float within the hospital will receive orientation appropriate to the assignment. Orientation will be dependent upon the nurse’s previous experience and familiarity with the nursing unit to which such nurse is assigned. Nurses required to float will be assigned a resource nurse for the designated shift. The Hospital will make a good faith effort not to assign float nurses as charge. Traveling nurses will be the first to float if they are qualified. Each unit will have orientation materials for familiarizing floats to the unit. Newly hired nurses may not be required to float for a period of six (6) months after they are hired. No nurse will be required to float more than once per shift.”
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.
I was told to clean my N95 to save for reuse. Is that safe?
The CDC and NIOSH do not recommend cleaning disposable N‑95 respirators. These respirators are made from a variety of materials and not all respirators have the same construction. Self-cleaning a respirator may result in degrading the quality of the respirator, rendering it less effective or potentially ineffective. Taking a used N‑95 respirator home to attempt cleaning using microwave or oven heat is not recommended. Autoclaving and the use of disinfectant wipes are not recommended as they may alter performance of the filtering facepiece respirator (FFR).
Per the CDC guidelines, FFR (e.g., N‑95) decontamination and reuse may be considered in a crisis to support continued availability. Based on limited research, ultraviolet germicidal irradiation, vaporous hydrogen peroxide, and moist heat are potential methods of decontamination.
On March 28, 2020, the FDA issued emergency authorization for use of the Battelle decontamination system to decontaminate compatible N‑95 respirators. Of note, only respirator manufacturers can reliably provide guidance on how to decontaminate specific modes of FFRs. The CDC guidelines include a table of decontamination methods that have been evaluated for N‑95 masks. (Reviewed April 2,2020)
Can PAPRs be cleaned without eventually destroying their integrity?
PAPRs must be worn and cleaned according to manufacturer’s recommendations. The respirator is no longer effective if the seal around the face becomes loose or is no longer intact.
SAVE THE DATE!
Virginia Mason Local Unit Call
We, your officers, will be having another local unit call! Please save Monday, April 28, 2020 at 5:30 p.m. and 8:15 p.m.
If you have questions that you would like us to discuss on this call, please send to your nurse rep at email@example.com with
subject as local unit call.
WSNA is working with management right now to finalize a proposal that will provide extra protection and benefits around the nursing staff. We recognize that all healthcare staff on the front lines are equally Important and indispensable at this time. Your officers and WSNA are working hard to secure benefits for the nurses. There will be more coming on that. But know that you are all valued, and we are seeking to have that acknowledgement from your leadership in the form of an agreement.
- Chicken Soup for the Soul Makes Its Latest Book for Nurses Free for healthcare workers No one needs a little Chicken Soup for the Soul more than the healthcare workers who are on the frontlines of the COVID-19 crisis. And now Chicken Soup for the Soul is making one of its famous books for healthcare workers free. The E‑book version of Chicken Soup for the Soul: Inspiration for Nurses is available at no charge via Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook, Google, Apple Books, and other e‑book providers.
Through your ANA membership you can sign up for a year subscription for the Headspace app.
In the meantime, we would like to see each of you as you are frontline through this disaster. Please take a quick selfie or snapshot (NO HOSPITAL IDENTIFYERS IN THE PHOTO PLEASE!) and email them to one of your officers and/or firstname.lastname@example.org. Use the hashtags #stayathome or #silencekills. You are all amazing! Lets celebrate all of us in action!
Digital Communication Team
Are you a pro at Facebook? Do you love posting selfies on Instagram? Here is your chance to shine! Volunteer for the new VM Digital Communications Committee by texting or emailing your WSNA Organizer Crystal Doll at 206.334.8388 or Cdoll@wsna.org.
There are so many changes going on right now it’s hard to keep up! Fortunately, we have the BEST team at WSNA on top of all things and they have a web page full of resources and information on www.wsna.org . This will include information and resources for families as well as nurses and has some very valuable resources for financial assistance during this time.
As always, reach out to one of your officers or directly to your nurse rep. we are here for you! And together we are stronger!
Your local unit officers/negotiation team Suzanna Avery, Natasza Marchak, Susan Dunn, Sam Asencio, Suzanne Baek, Kari Benning, Jane Hill Little-John and Janelle Coy
Michelle Moore BSN RN – 206.575.7979 ext. 3019