Introducing the new WSNA nurse representative, Sydne James, BSN, RN #

Sydne James

I have been an RN since 2008. My background is in Step Down, outpa­tient dialysis and hospice and pallia­tive care. I started at WSNA as a nurse organizer and love being an advocate for nurses. I am excited to repre­sent the nurses at Overlake and look forward to hearing from each and every one of you as to what your work issues are and your ideas of how things could be better. I am also excited to speak to nurses who are inter­ested in learning more about WSNA at Overlake and who may want to get involved. There are many ways to partic­i­pate and contribute and grow the nurses’ power at Overlake. This is how nurses will get the best contract in 2020.

Contact info: 206 – 575-7979, ext. 3004 and

Cafeteria time #

Find WSNA Nurse Rep Sydne James in the hospital cafeteria the last Wednesday of every month from noon‑2 p.m. It’s a great oppor­tu­nity for me to hear from you on issues and concerns.

Some union history #

Nurses at Overlake formed a union and got their first contract more than 38 years ago. They wanted to have a voice in things related to their wages, hours and working condi­tions. They wanted shift differ­en­tial. They wanted to earn seniority, a guarantee of overtime pay and sick leave. They wanted a guarantee of medical insur­ance benefits. 

Since that contract was signed in 1980, nurses have gained a lot more benefits and continue to make gains every time the contract is negoti­ated. Those gains are not a gift from the employer. They are hard fought and only achieved by the majority of members standing together and showing unwavering support for the nurse negoti­a­tion team. If you wonder why the contract isn’t better, why the nurses don’t get all the proposals they ask for, ask yourself what you have done to help. The nurse negoti­a­tion team is only as strong as the union member­ship at Overlake.

Get involved with WSNA at Overlake #

We have vacan­cies in the union leader­ship at Overlake. We’re asking for officer nominations. 

Secre­tary – Duties of secre­tary include unit rep respon­si­bil­i­ties, partic­i­pating in contract negoti­a­tions, and performing secre­tarial duties at monthly confer­ence committee meetings with management.

Treasurer – Duties of the treasurer include unit rep respon­si­bil­i­ties, partic­i­pating in contract negoti­a­tions and attending monthly confer­ence committee meetings with management.

Griev­ance officer (multiple) – The griev­ance officer is trained as a liaison between the union nurses and WSNA to advise and assist in WSNA’s dealing with the employer concerning contract issues and grievances. 

We encourage self-nomina­tions and nomina­tions of others. To nominate yourself or someone else, notify one of the WSNA officers at Overlake or WSNA Nurse Repre­sen­ta­tive Sydne James at or at 206 – 575-7979, ext. 3004. Please include the nurse name, unit and the position. 

All nominees must be members in good standing and must agree to be on the ballot. Ballots will be mailed in January or February 2019.

There are other ways to get involved besides running for a union leader­ship position. We are seeking multiple unit repre­sen­ta­tives for most units, member­ship officers (training provided), folks to manage an Overlake RN Facebook group, volun­teers to sit on a committee (staffing, contract negoti­a­tions, safety or confer­ence commit­tees), volun­teers to help write newslet­ters, etc. For more infor­ma­tion on union activism, please contact WSNA Nurse Repre­sen­ta­tive Sydne James.

Membership matters #

Why be active in WSNA? WSNA at Overlake is a grass­roots union led by members. The nurses negotiate our own contracts and we are empow­ered to be leaders, serve on commit­tees and partic­i­pate in labor-manage­ment problem solving.

We would not have a contract if we did not have a union. Our union contract empowers us to act on impor­tant issues like safe staffing, ending manda­tory overtime, addressing safety issues and receiving appro­priate training.

What’s at stake is our patients’ quality of care, as well as our pay and our working condi­tions. Our patients will never say to us, Nurse, I need you to be an active member of your union so that I get the care I deserve.” But it is the strength of our union that affects our patients’ care and their future.

If you are not yet a member, join today at wsna​.org/​membership.

Contract spotlight on certification pay #

1) Are you receiving your rightful certi­fi­ca­tion pay? 

      Article 5.12 Certi­fi­ca­tion (abbre­vi­ated)

      Regis­tered nurses will be eligible to receive a nursing certi­fi­ca­tion premium under this Agree­ment as follows:

      1. A list of approved certi­fi­ca­tion programs will be avail­able on the intranet and kept in the Staffing Office.
      2. The Hospital will deter­mine if the certi­fi­ca­tion in question is directly relevant to that individual nurse’s practice setting or area of employment.
      3. The nurse must document to the Hospi­tal’s satis­fac­tion certi­fi­ca­tion achieve­ment and maintenance.
      4. Only one (1) certi­fi­ca­tion premium rate can be credited per nurse, regard­less of other certi­fi­ca­tions a nurse may have.

      Do you have a certi­fi­ca­tion that is not currently on the list of approved certi­fi­ca­tion programs and want it to be added? According to the contract, new certi­fi­ca­tion programs may be consid­ered for addition to the list. Please contact WSNA Nurse Repre­sen­ta­tive Sydne James to speak more about this.

      2) Did you know that you are eligible to receive a certi­fi­ca­tion stipend for contin­uing educa­tion and certi­fi­ca­tion (or recer­ti­fi­ca­tion) exam costs? 

        This certi­fi­ca­tion stipend is limited to a maximum of $325 annually for full- and part-time RNs and $175 annually for on-call RNs who meet the minimum work require­ments. Read more about this in article 12.6 of the contract.

        Current list of approved RN Specialty Certifications:


        If you have a specialty certi­fi­ca­tion that is not on this list and you would like it to be consid­ered as an approved certi­fi­ca­tion for specialty pay, contact WSNA Nurse Repre­sen­ta­tive Sydne James.

        Grievance corner #

        When does a problem become a griev­ance? Problems are griev­ances when they relate to a provi­sion of the collec­tive bargaining agree­ment (contract). A formal griev­ance filed by a nurse (or by WSNA on behalf of a nurse) must refer to the article or section of the contract that has been violated.

        WSNA will always work with the employer to settle problems or contract viola­tions at the lowest level. This often means we can avoid filing a griev­ance. Let’s consider a recent issue at Overlake.

        Per the contract, the schedule for Thanks­giving week through Jan. 2 shall be posted by June 30. This was a win by nurses during the last contract negoti­a­tions to allow nurses to better plan for the holidays. In one unit at Overlake, a manager altered this schedule after June 30, after some nurses had already made travel plans. The manager indicated that the schedule posted on June 30 was merely a draft. A nurse spoke to her unit rep about this. The unit rep consulted the contract, then she and the nurse who brought it to the unit rep’s atten­tion met with the manager who agreed to go back to the original schedule.

        Easy, right? In this instance, it was easy. Other times, it’s not so easy, as the employer and the union disagree on the contract language or that a contract viola­tion has occurred. At such times, a griev­ance may be filed. But the first step in settling a problem is always the same, nurses take note that that a someone is not following the contract and speak up about it. Nurses at Overlake are all stewards of the contract. Member­ship in WSNA includes a respon­si­bility to protect and enforce the contract.

        Upcoming WSNA events #

        Mark your calen­dars for upcoming WSNA events that may interest you. Find out more about all these events (including how to register), click on the Calendar tab in the top menu banner.

        Jan. 28, 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m. is Advocacy Camp. The goal of WSNA’s 2019 Advocacy Camp is to educate nurses, nursing faculty and nursing students about the legisla­tive process and about how to effec­tively advocate for nurses and patients when meeting with legis­la­tors. This year’s event will take place at the Red Lion Hotel in Tumwater.

        Feb. 28, 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. is Nurse Lobby Day. The goal of WSNA’s Lobby Day is to advance our legisla­tive prior­i­ties that support nurses and patient safety. This event will include a morning briefing session to help partic­i­pants get up-to-speed on key issues before the legis­la­ture. Time will also be spent role-playing to prepare for after­noon appoint­ments with your legis­la­tors. After lunch, you will head up to the hill to attend meetings with your legis­la­tors. This is a great oppor­tu­nity for nurses to talk with their lawmakers about key issues, such as the need for uninter­rupted rest breaks, as well as funding for school nurses, nursing educa­tion faculty and public health.

        May 1 – 3 is the Washington State Nurses Conven­tion. This bi-annual conven­tion is at Tulalip Casino. You have the oppor­tu­nity to earn 24 CNE credits and members may get regis­tra­tion and hotel fees covered with local unit funds. If you are inter­ested in taking advan­tage of this, contact any WSNA officer at Overlake as funds are limited.

        Keep abreast of what’s happening with your union at Overlake by keeping up with this page.