As we, your contract bargaining team, have moved forward with our fight to obtain a fair COVID-19 Memorandum of Agree­ment to protect nurses at Overlake, manage­ment has approached us about volun­tary furloughs for staff facing too much low census. Management’s first request for furloughs left us with many questions about the impact on affected nurses. We wanted to be sure that nurses taking furloughs would have job protec­tion and fair treat­ment. Our Nurse Repre­sen­ta­tive Sydne James posed the following questions to management:

  1. To what position would a furloughed RN be assigned if called back during the furlough period?
  2. What ability would the furloughed RN who is called back in have to refuse an assignment?
  3. At the end of the furlough period, will the furloughed RNs be returned to their unit, position and FTE?
  4. Can a furloughed RN apply for any open position while on furlough and be consid­ered for that position as if they were not on furlough (seniority applies)?
  5. Does seniority apply in granting furloughs if there are more nurses inter­ested than avail­ability allows for?

On Thursday, April 9, in negoti­a­tions manage­ment passed an other­wise unaccept­able MOU which included language which answers some of our key questions on furlough and provides some key protec­tions. This movement prompted us to move the furlough issue forward without waiting for an overall MOU. The same day, Chris­tine Watts, WSNA’s Senior Labor Adviser, reached out to manage­ment to schedule a phone confer­ence the following day to get complete answers to our questions and resolve the furlough issue without delay. That confer­ence call will occur today, Monday, April 13. 

Hold tight – We will report on our ability to move this issue forward. In the meantime, please review our last update to highlight key protec­tions manage­ment still denies us.

In solidarity,

Chris Birchem, East 3; Gemma Aranda, PACU; Brooke Dodd, South 4; Janet Moore-Lane, IPS; Pauline Whitney-Hille, IPS; Kathryn Geren, PACU; Cherise Horn, South 4; Sharon Sim, South 4; Magdalyn Chu, Emergency; Brenda Elliott, L&D; Jennifer Carney, South 3; Jesse Huang-Refuerzo, West 4

Questions? Contact WSNA Nurse Rep Sydne James, sjames@wsna.org