In this update:

  • Contract bargaining update
  • Nurses’ concerns
  • Bringing your own mask to work
  • ADOs
  • Open officer position
  • Online resources

Contract bargaining update

On Thursday, April 2, we had our third contract bargaining session. Both sides agree that now is not the time to be bargaining our contract, when we are all focused on patient care more than ever before, our own health and safety and that of our colleagues, as well as our families and loved ones. We are preparing to meet with Overlake on Thursday, April 9, with the hopes for reaching agree­ment on issues that address our work safety concerns during this state of emergency. Look for an update April 10.

Nurses’ concerns

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 Sydne James. These are common Overlake RN concerns presented to the Nurse Rep.

Do we have the right to be notified if an employee on our unit has tested positive?

Per Overlake’s stated policy, there is a process in place to notify employees of any poten­tial exposures, including coworkers. Employee Health will contact you either by email or phone if you have any workplace risk of exposure.” WSNA supports the confi­den­tiality of private health information. 

I called employee health with signs and symptoms. They told me to go to my provider to be tested, and to stay home pending test results and said I will have to use PTO/EIB. Is this right?

Per Overlake’s policy, staff who have been exposed to COVID-19 at work and are placed on quaran­tine by employee health will be on paid admin­is­tra­tive leave during their quaran­tine. If you have no known risk of exposure outside of work, WSNA supports that you were exposed at work and this would qualify for paid admin­is­tra­tive leave. If you are told to use PTO/EIB and you feel you qualify for paid admin leave, contact our WSNA Nurse Rep.

The petition for hazard pay, how would that work?

Your bargaining team has presented a hazard pay proposal to Overlake 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 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 9.7 (low census) and 8.5 (floating) in our CBA.

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) Per article 10.4, except for emergency condi­tions involving patient care and low census condi­tions, individual sched­uled hours of work may be changed only by mutual consent. 

How can I get a workplace accommodation?

Overlake has instructed nurses to reach out to employee health, or our assigned HR business partner to apply for a reason­able accom­mo­da­tion, Suzanne Rodriguez or Terry Wilson, with your specific request for accom­mo­da­tion. We have heard that some nurses are asking their manager for an accom­mo­da­tion and the manager has granted that. 

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, this is a viola­tion of article 8.5 Floating. “… When floated, a nurse will take the same type of and ratio of patients that ordinarily is treated on the floated nurse’s unit; however, if such an assign­ment is not avail­able a nurse may be floated as a staff helper. For purposes of floating, med-surg (El, E3, W4 and S5) is consid­ered one unit and telemetry (E2 and S4) is consid­ered one unit. Any nurse required to float shall receive adequate orien­ta­tion appro­priate for the assign­ment. A nurse may inform the Charge Nurse of any task or proce­dure for which the nurse feels inade­quately trained.”

Floating/​Unsafe assignment

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, or to that of your patient. 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 any N95 mask in any manner. Read more.

How do I submit my concerns, questions and sugges­tions to Overlake administration?

We have heard that nurses are not getting response from the command center. WSNA has previ­ously asked Overlake to create a platform for nurses to share their concerns, questions and ideas. Overlake has created an email address for this purpose:

Bringing your own mask to work

Overlake’s current FAQ states At this time we do not encourage people to use their own personal protec­tive equip­ment (PPE).” The Joint Commis­sion supports allowing staff to bring their own standard face masks or respi­ra­tors to wear at work when their health­care organi­za­tions cannot adequately provide PPE. This document contains the announce­ment from the Joint Commis­sion. WSNA supports nurses bringing their own mask to work, when the employer is not providing suffi­cient PPE to be used as per manufac­turer and CDC guidelines.

ADOs #

We under­stand some managers are telling nurses that the online WSNA staffing complaint/​ADO form is not appro­priate for lack of proper PPE. This form is appro­priate for many things, including unsafe working condi­tions, lack of appro­priate PPE (equip­ment on the form), missed breaks, inappro­priate assign­ment, and staffing. It is appro­priate and helpful to complete both the ADO form and a MIDAS. The ADO can be completed from home, at any time after the fact. There is no retal­i­a­tion permitted for completing this form, and it could be unlawful for your managers to discourage you from doing so. If you have been told to not submit an ADO for any reason, contact any officer or the WSNA nurse rep for clari­fi­ca­tion or to report this.

Open officer postion #

We currently have one open officer position at Overlake, WSNA co-chair. If you are inter­ested in running for this position, email by April 9. 

Online Resources

From WSNA #

Other helpful resources #

In solidarity,
Your WSNA officers and contract bargaining team

Chris Birchem, Chair; Jennifer Carney, Secre­tary; Brenda Elliott, Treasurer; Gemma Aranda, Griev­ance Officer; Kathryn Geren, Griev­ance Officer; Brook Dodd, Griev­ance Officer; Andrew Meeks, Member­ship Officer; Janet Moore-Lane, IPS; Pauline Whitney-Hille, IPS; Jesse Huang-Refuerzo, West 4; Sharon Sim, South 4; Cherise Horn, South 4; Magdalyn Chu, ED

Contact any WSNA officer or WSNA Nurse Repre­sen­ta­tive Sydne James with any questions or concerns,