Governor Inslee just signed our state budget which ensures full funding for our contracts and our historic 27.5% wage increase to bring us up to community standards.
We worked hard with the state to negotiate a contract that would put our patients and clients first, address a recruitment crisis in our facilities to recruit new nurses, and help us retain the most qualified staff.
We advocated throughout the legislative session with our lobby visits, meetings with the Governor, phone calls, emails, stickers, and petitions to urge our elected leaders to fund our contract and follow through on their commitment to fully fund our state facilities.
Because of our work, legislators showed they value the safety, dignity, and rights of the patients in our state facilities and they recognize we can’t do this critical work without keeping qualified staff.
This budget also makes $102 million in critical investments to our state hospitals, adds more community crisis centers, and more beds to prevent patients from entering Western State and to help discharge patients back to the community.
We should all be proud that we’re on track to provide excellent care, and moving forward we need to keep investing in our communities and behavioral health system so that our state facilities are not the only care options for patients and clients.
These victories are because we’re united together in our union and this contract represents years of hard work and action.
We’re just getting started. Now we need to keep our union strong against attacks and keep working on improvements in our facilities and hospitals. Together we’re winning new standards and advancing care in our communities!
“The phone calls, going to town halls, and all the pushing and pushing we did made all the difference. Our raise has helped me to pay for school. Now we can keep working on other issues. As a union, everyone should participate when we call for meetings and work together as a team, because that is what a union is. A union is not someone else, it is us working together.”
Jane Kambutu, RN2, Ward C-3, Evenings, WSH
“Since we didn’t get a raise all those years, the pay increase is the right thing. We also won an increase in vacation days, which will be good for all of us. We need time for family and free time to rejuvenate. We won because we were all together. WE did that. We took action. We went to Olympia, rallied outside Fircrest, signed petitions, and called our legislators. Working together as a union is what it took, what it always takes to win.”
Charan Paul, RN3, Fircrest, Day
“I think the biggest impact of the raises in this contract will be retention and replacing people who retire. We have had trouble in the past replacing nurses because of the pay rate. People don’t want to take a pay cut to work with us. We won this because we participated more than we have in the past. We went to Olympia and made phone calls, sent emails. I am excited to see how so many of us took action around getting the contract funded, and because we still have more work to do, we need to stay involved. One thing we don’t yet have is preceptor pay. People need to be trained properly. If we had preceptors, they would see to it that new RNs are only on their own when ready. We have more winning to do.”
Allen Goodwin, Community Nurse Consultant, DSHS, Holgate
“The budget that was passed includes our raises for everyone, and that means safer staffing numbers for our patients and us. Now we need to keep working together to fill staffing vacancies and continue improving care.”
Veronica Palmer, RN, Eastern State Hospital
eedmundson July 13th, 2017
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