CONTRACT NEGOTIATIONS BACKGROUND (March 2019)
WSNA-represented registered nurses at St. Joseph Medical Center in Tacoma have been in contract negotiations for seven months. WSNA and St. Joe’s have held 12 negotiating sessions to date, the last two with a federal mediator. The 13thsession is scheduled for March 22.
There are approximately 1,180 registered nurses at St. Joe’s.
Key issues at the bargaining table
- Safe Nurse Staffing
Safe staffing saves lives. Safe staffing allows nurses to safely take care of their patients.
WSNA’s staffing proposal asks management to commit to minimum staffing standards and to ensure established staffing plans are followed.
This includes safe staffing on the hospital floor, but also staffing that allows nurses to actually take their legally mandated rest and meal breaks. It includes adequate staffing so that nurses can take their paid time off.
St. Joe’s management has refused to make this commitment to nurse and patient safety.
- Addressing Workplace Violence
In October 2018, a patient in the psychiatric unit at St. Joe’s assaulted numerous nurses and threatened to kill employees at the hospital. The patient punched, kicked and scratched staff members, inflicting serious injuries
WSNA filed a complaint with the Division of Occupational Safety and Health at the state Department of Labor & Industries, prompting an investigation that resulted in three serious citations against St. Joseph Medical Center, for failure to properly investigate serious injuries, failure to have employee elected members on the safety committee, failure to elect chair of safety committee, and failure to evaluate injuries/accidents to make recommendation for improvements.
Nurses should not have to risk their personal safety just to do their jobs of giving patients the very best care. Nurses at St. Joe’s need protections in their contract to keep themselves and their patients safe.
St. Joe’s management has failed to agree to these needed contract protections.
- Recruiting and Retaining Great Nurses
If St. Joe’s wants to recruit and retain qualified and dedicated nurses, they must bring wages up to market level and give premium pay to Bachelor’s- and Master’s-prepared nurses that is competitive.
Current wage proposals from St. Joe’s management are not market competitive and they are resisting the kind of BSN and MN premium pay that other hospitals in the area offer.