On April 15 we met with Overlake admin­is­tra­tion and manage­ment for our fifth contract bargaining session. We are pleased to announce that we have reached agree­ment on a one-year interim contract with 3% across the board wage increases effec­tive May 1, 2020. There are no other substan­tive changes to our CBA.

We previ­ously asked Overlake to delay bargaining and they refused. While the Overlake RNs are consumed with the COVID pandemic and concerned with lack of PPE, staffing issues, our own safety at work and the health and safety of our patients and our loved ones, this is not a good time to be in protracted bargaining for normal contract proposals. This one-year interim contract maintains current contract benefits and protects us if the contract were to expire April 30, 2020. During these uncer­tain times, 3% wage increases should not be taken lightly.

In normal times, this agree­ment would be subject to a vote of the WSNA member­ship. As we all know, these are not normal times. We are unable to have an in-person vote. On April 5, the WSNA Cabinet on Economic & General Welfare adopted an emergency motion that autho­rizes, for the duration of the coron­avirus pandemic emergency, the Execu­tive Committee of the Cabinet (chair, vice chair, and treasurer) to execute an interim contract of up to one year provided that it is in the best interest of the nurses, and provided it is done in consul­ta­tion with the local unit officers and negoti­ating team. The Cabinet consists of ten elected members across the state and is the highest-ranking elected body of WSNA collec­tive bargaining program.

We, your WSNA bargaining team, are in unani­mous agree­ment in recom­mending this one-year interim contract to the Cabinet Execu­tive Committee.

We also came to agree­ment with Overlake on a Memorandum of Under­standing (MOU) regarding furloughs. Read the full agree­ment. Provi­sions include assuring that nurses who take volun­tary furloughs will retain their seniority, benefits, and the right to return to their positions and FTE. Similar to the emergency motion above, on March 30, the Cabinet on E&GW adopted another emergency resolu­tion autho­rizing WSNA to enter into MOUs with employers as neces­sary, provided such MOUs are deemed to be in the best interest of the affected nurses. Our Team unani­mously supports this MOU.

If you have questions, please ask member of the bargaining team or the WSNA nurse repre­sen­ta­tive, Sydne James, sjames@wsna.org.

This is not the end of the story. 

For the last four sessions, we have worked hard to achieve an MOU to address COVID-19’s horren­dous impacts on Overlake’s nurses. Our proposal includes better access to testing, hazard pay, PTO protec­tion, reason­able accom­mo­da­tion with benefits to those at high risk, extra shift incen­tives and admin­is­tra­tive pay for nurses the Employer prohib­ited from working due to exposure at work. We will continue this work when we meet with admin­is­tra­tion again April 27.

In our commu­ni­ca­tion update last week, we asked for your help. Overlake is not taking us seriously and do not see that you, the 900 RNs in the Overlake bargaining unit, support us. We know that you do, but it’s not visible to Overlake.

While we work with WSNA staff to formu­late a plan before April 27 to turn up the heat, you can help us now by completing more ADOs. These can be completed days or weeks after the fact. They are for staffing issues, inade­quate PPE, workplace safety issues, missed breaks, unsafe assign­ments, viola­tions of the staffing plan, etc. There is no retal­i­a­tion for submit­ting this form. We need hundreds of forms submitted for this to make an impact.

Another thing you can do is to complete the COVID-19 Healthy Workplace Survey, if you have not already done so, about your COVID/PPE work experience.

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; Jesse Haung-Refuerzo, West 4; Jennifer Carney, South 3