Labor Relations

WSNA – UW (Northwest) Negotiations Recap for March 18


This recap details the first virtual session for the renewal of the collective bargaining agreement between the UW and Washington State Nurses Association for Northwest Hospital. Recaps are published online on the UW Labor Relations website.

WSNA Initial Proposals

Evening Shift Differential: The union proposed that nurses working ten-hour shifts for two or more hours  between the hours of 15:00 and 23:00 on the evening shift would be paid evening shift differential for those hours worked on the second shift, and nurses working ten-hours shifts working two or more hours (rather than the current four or more hours) between the hours of 23:00 and 07:00 on the night shift would be paid a night shift differential for those hours worked on the third shift. Under this proposal, all nurses working ten-hour shifts on the second shift would receive the evening shift differential, and all nurses working ten-hour shifts on the third shift would receive the night shift differential. The union clarified that nurses are provided the second shift differential if they worked two or more hours in that shift.

Per Diem Wage Differential – The union proposed that per diem nurses could opt out of receiving benefits and that nurses who had opted out would receive a 15% wage differential, as opposed to the current 6%.

Per Diem Additional Pay and Premiums – The union proposed that per diem nurses would receive longevity increments and would be eligible for all pay premiums and differentials, rather than only standby pay, callback pay, shift differentials, weekend premium pay and certification pay.

Shift Rotation: The union proposed to change the limitation on shift rotation from a 14-day period between each rotation to two changes per 28-day work schedule with at least 15 hours off between changes. Under this proposal, a change to night-shift and a change back to day-shift would be considered two changes, not one.

Meal Period: The union proposed that no nurse would be required to work more than five consecutive hours without a thirty minute meal period, and that nurses working a twelve-hour shift would entitled to a second thirty -minute meal period. The union further proposed that nurses would have the ability to voluntarily choose to waive their right to a second meal period and that to do so they would use a waiver form provided by the Employer.

Missed Breaks: The union proposed that the Employer would include a category entitled “Missed Rest Breaks” on the time clock so that nurses who are unable to take their breaks would be able to enter and record missed rest breaks more easily.

Staffing Plan: The union proposed that the Employer and nurses would produce an annual staffing plan that would provide staffing levels that enable nurses to receive meal and rest breaks and utilize their vacation time off. Under this proposal, the staffing plan would refrain, except in emergency circumstance, from assigning nurses to provide care to more patients than anticipated by the agreed staffing matrix and relevant safety requirements and from assigning patient care to Charge Nurses.

Staffing Concerns: The union proposed that a nurse would be able to report to the staffing committee any variations where the nursing personnel assignment in a patient care unit is not in accordance with the adopted staffing plan. In addition, the nurse would be able to make a complaint to the staffing committee based on the variations, or based on adjustments in staffing levels made according to the requirements of the staffing plan.

Staffing Grievances: The union proposed that though the content of staffing plans would still not be subject to the grievance procedure, the above proposals regarding staffing would be subject to the grievance procedure, as would unsafe working conditions related to staffing levels.

Child Care Emergencies: The union proposed language defining child care emergencies and the type of time off that may be used in such emergencies, including compensatory, vacation, sick, personal holiday, and unpaid time off. The proposal states that the employee would designate in writing to which type of time off the absence would be charged, and that the use of such time off would be unlimited for child care emergencies as long as the employee is eligible.

Parking: The union proposed that the Employer would be obligated to bargain with the union regarding changes in transportation policy, including adjusting parking fees and criteria for assigning parking spots during the life of the contract.

Travel Pay – The Union proposed that any nurse required by the Employer to travel to a place of work other than their regular official duty station would be reimbursed for travel costs if eligible.

Safety Committee – The Union proposed that up to two RNs would be selected by WSNA to participate in the house-wide safety committee and that such participation would be on paid time.

Security Personnel – The Union proposed that security personnel shall be posted at the rooms of all patients whose violent history demonstrates a potential risk, and that nurses would be free to decline caring for patients who they reasonably believe pose such a risk.

Workplace Violence – The Union proposed that nurses subject to workplace violence would be provided paid time off with full benefits and benefit accrual until fully recovered from the physical and psychological injuries resulting from the violence, reduced by payments from worker’s compensation and disability benefits.

Contract Term – The union proposed to strike language stating that the jurisdiction of the Agreement and of the Association would not be extended except by agreement of the parties or as provided under the National Labor Relations Act. The union further proposed to strike language stating that the Agreement would terminate in the event negotiations do not result in a new Agreement on or before the expiration date, unless the parties mutually agree to extend the Contract.

Grievance Termination – The Union proposed to strike language stating that grievances arising after the expiration date of this Contract would be null and void.

Release – The union proposed to increase from six to ten the total WSNA designated bargaining team members for whom the Employer would provide paid time or paid release time for eight hours per session (including caucus time) during negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement. The union further proposed to change the amount of release time that would be provided from forty-eight hours per session for six sessions to eight hours per session for unlimited sessions. Under this agreement, neither paid time nor paid release time would be considered as hours worked for the purposes of calculating overtime.

Next Steps

The next UW and WSNA bargaining session is scheduled for April 8 and will be held virtually.