Starting January 1, 2018
We’re raising standards and making a difference across the state.
Because of our work on Initiative 1433 all workers across the state will have access to paid sick and safe leave starting January 1, 2018. As union members we already have contract protections that provide sick leave. Under the new law we’ve protected and even improved our standards in many workplaces. And now we’ve raised the standard so that ALL workers across the state can take care of themselves without fear of losing income.
The only way for us to keep those standards and protect our jobs is when we’re all members of the union together—it takes all of us!
Here’s what the new law means for us:
We can care for ourselves and our families Employees may use paid sick leave to care for themselves or their family members; when the employees’ workplace or their child’s school or place of care has been closed by a public official for any health-related reason; for absences that qualify for leave under the state’s Domestic Violence Leave Act. Employees are protected from employer retaliation when they use their sick leave in compliance with the law.
Our contract language is protected or improved. If a workplace has a sick leave accrual rates or standards below the state law, all workers will automatically be brought up to the standard law effective January 1. If a workplace has sick leave accrual rates or standards that exceed the new state law, the current accruals and standards will remain in effect.
All workers now accrue sick leave. Most employees must accrue paid sick leave at a minimum rate of one hour of paid sick leave for every 40 hours worked. This includes part-time workers. In many workplaces our accrual rate is already higher and protected.
We have certainty when we can start using sick leave. Employees are entitled to use accrued paid sick leave beginning on the 90th calendar day after the start of their employment. For workplaces that currently allow use of paid leave before 90 days, that timeline will remain in effect.
We can carry sick leave over into the following year. Unused paid sick leave of 40 hours or less must be carried over to the following year. In many workplace contracts across the state our standards are much higher and will remain in effect. Employers are allowed to provide employees with more generous carry over and accrual policies.
Providence St. Peter Hospital may have planned to be a holiday Grinch, giving Health Unit Coordinators notice of job cuts that were to happen as soon as December 16, but caregivers together took legal action with their union, SEIU Healthcare 1199NW, and today a Federal court has blocked Providence’s plan.
“This sends a clear message that what Providence is doing is wrong,” said Alissa Kautz, a Health Unit Coordinator at St. Pete’s. “The way Providence treats its staff is unacceptable, and the fact they tried to do this just before the holidays shows how they feel. If they don’t care about their staff, they don’t care about their patients. They’re not living their core values.”
Providence St. Peter currently employs about 80 Health Unit Coordinators. The Health Unit Coordinators play a key role in facilitating patient care by answering calls from physicians and patients’ loved ones, arranging admits and discharges, coordinating patient transport, scheduling labs and tests, and more. Registered Nurses, Health Unit Coordinators and other caregivers at the hospital had signed a letter to the hospital expressing concerns over the impact of the staffing cuts on the medical units of the hospital.
In addition to eliminating some Health Unit Coordinators, Providence intends to unilaterally move these caregivers from 8-hour shifts to 12-hour shifts, resulting in job losses and a life-altering schedule change in the middle of the holidays for the remaining caregivers.
“I’ve been at Providence for 16 years,” said Kautz. “Seeing people with lower seniority than me have this upheaval in their life is very distressing. Whether they have been here 6 months or six years, these are people we work with and value. This restructure would have impacted everybody.”
The temporary restraining order, issued by the Honorable Judge Leighton of the United States District Court – Western Washington, stops any layoff or restructure and orders Providence to appear in court on December 26.
Swedish Nurses, Caregivers Overwhelmingly Vote “No Confidence” in Swedish/Providence Administration
Caregivers speak out about problems with low staffing, racism, poor equipment, and more
SEATTLE- The union of nurses and caregivers at all Swedish-Providence campuses voted 98% “No Confidence” in Swedish and Providence administration following dozens of complaints about poor staffing, broken supplies, and management racism. The nurses and caregivers announced their vote tonight at a speak out event where a dozen caregivers from Swedish campuses shared examples of what they face at the bedside.
“We, the frontline caregivers, have tried to partner with management, and we’ve tried to make management listen to these critical problems, but they have refused to act,” said Delores Prescott, a nurse at Swedish First Hill. “We are sounding the alarm—quality patient care is on the line.”
Speakers highlighted problems ranging from Swedish understaffing to having broken suction machines to racist comments from managers that went unaddressed. The caregivers have raised these problems at the bargaining table, in labor-management and staffing committee meetings, and through direct actions, yet Swedish-Providence has not acted.
“In my unit, we have faced instances where we are without basic supplies and fully functioning equipment that me and my coworkers need to treat patients and care for them,” said Douglas Davis, a tech at Swedish Edmonds. “One incident that occurred late this summer, my coworker was attempting to treat a patient who was vomiting blood. Both of the suction machines we would normally use to help a patient in this state were either not working or malfunctioning. In emergency situations, time is critical and it was only through the resourcefulness of the staff that we were able to avert any further crisis. However, we often don’t have enough staff to handle emergencies like this when they come up.”
A panel of community leaders including Rep. Eileen Cody, Seattle City Council Member Teresa Mosqueda, and Executive Director of the Church Council of Greater Seattle Michael Ramos heard the comments and responded with a call to action.
“It is unacceptable that Providence is taking the low road, putting profits ahead of patient care at Swedish,” said Robin Wyss, Secretary-Treasurer of SEIU Healthcare 1199NW. “We will not stand by while our patient care is at risk.”
On September 5, the Trump administration announced that it is ending protections for 800,000 Americans who were brought here as children. Ending the Dreamers program, or DACA, means these 800,000 community members could be subject to deportation soon– tearing their families apart. This despite how well DACA works: it has helped drive economic growth, bolster job creation, keep families together, and promote education and community integration. We must continue to allow the nearly 800,000 young people to provide for their families, contribute to the economy, and build their futures.
Under Trump’s action, approximately 300,000 people will lose DACA protections and could be deported by the end of 2017. Essentially, Trump is ordering employers to lay these young people off and making it illegal for anyone else to hire them.
It’s time to take action. We’re in the streets with our coalition partners and standing up for our communities.
Our elected leaders like Governor Inslee and Attorney General Bob Ferguson have also been vocal in their support of the DACA program and we are expecting a legal challenge to the rescinding of the program.
As a union, we have a proud history of fighting for immigrant justice, and we will continue that legacy. Members from across the state will be meeting with congressional representatives and sharing our stories on why it is crucial that we don’t tear families apart. Furthermore, we will be working with coalitions such as the Washington Immigrant Solidarity Network and United We Dream to identify local solutions to enact protections for Dreamers. Talk to your executive board member or organizer for more information.
In accordance with Articles VI and VII of SEIU Healthcare 1199NW By-Laws, elections for the following offices will be held in 2018:
Terms of office begin after installation at the March 2018 Executive Board Meeting and end in May 2019.
Nominating Petitions for Union Officers
In order to be nominated to run for any of the Union-wide Officer positions you must be a member in good standing* of the Union for at least the preceding year (unless joined through new organizing less than one year previously). You must have at least 10% of the members of the Union in good standing* sign your petition.
Nominating Petitions for Executive Board Positions
The Executive Board shall consist of the Union-wide Officers and representatives from each Chapter as follows:
In order to be nominated to run for Executive Board, you must be a member in good standing* of the District for at least the preceding year (unless joined through new organizing less than one year previously). You must have at least 10% of the members of your chapter in good standing* sign your petition.
Eligibility to Sign Nominating Petition
You must be a member in good standing* as of November 10, 2015.
Nominating petitions will be available November 27, 2015 from the union’s Renton office and must be returned to the SEIU Healthcare 1199NW office at 15 South Grady Way, #200, Renton, WA 98057 no later than 5:00 p.m. December 28, 2017.
Elections will be held by mailed ballot. Ballots and a voters guide of candidates for all offices will be mailed to members by Monday, February 5, 2018, at their address of record. Returned ballots received at P.O. Box 59808, Renton, WA 98058-9803 no later than February 26, 2018 at 3:00 p.m., to be counted.
The District Election Board will meet at the union office in Renton to begin counting the ballots and certifying the election on February 26, 2018.
Eligibility to Vote
You must be a member in good standing* as of January 31, 2018.
For information on the duties and responsibilities of a particular office, please see the SEIU Healthcare 1199NW Bylaws.
For petitions or for more information, please contact your current Executive Board Representative or the Union office at (425)917-1199 or 1-800-422-8934.
† This position is a full time paid position: all remaining positions are rank and file membership positions.
* A member in good standing has signed a membership card and is current in his/her dues.
Washington CAN! & SEIU Healthcare 1199NW Commend Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s Action to Hold CHI Franciscan St. Joseph Accountable to State Charity Care Laws
TACOMA- The patient-activists of Washington CAN! and the St. Joe’s healthcare workers of SEIU Healthcare 1199NW commend Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson for filing suit on behalf of the patients of our community against CHI Franciscan St. Joseph Hospital in Tacoma.
“We are thrilled to see Attorney General Ferguson take decisive action against CHI and uphold this state’s Charity Care requirements ,” said Toni Potter, a Washington CAN! member and activist. “It takes an organized community speaking out and taking action to hold healthcare corporations accountable to the needs of our communities and our patients.”
Announcement of the AG’s suit comes at a time when CHI Franciscan’s operations are already under fire. A recent report by Columbia Legal Services showed another CHI Franciscan facility, Highline Medical Center in Burien, has hung up on Spanish-speaking patients in need of charity care information. And the state AG has also filed suit against CHI Franciscan for alleged price-fixing activities in healthcare on the Kitsap Peninsula.
Last week, the federal government’s National Labor Relations Board also filed a legal Complaint against CHI for violating federal labor law. The NLRB’s Complaint is in part based on St. Joe’s failure to provide SEIU 1199NW with information related to its collections practices.
Washington CAN! and SEIU Healthcare 1199NW have been working to hold CHI Franciscan accountable for its overpricing, aggressive collections activity, and charity care refusals for several years, including:
2012: Washington CAN! hosted community forum and released report “Caring for Pierce County” detailing high pricing yet poor outcomes at Pierce County hospitals
SEIU Healthcare 1199NW members and Washington CAN! community activists joined area clergy in a pray-in at the hospital calling for improvements to charity care policies
2014: Washington CAN! members, clergy, and SEIU Healthcare 1199NW members marched on St. Joe’s CEO to deliver a letter calling for an end to aggressive collections
2015: SEIU Healthcare 1199NW members went on strike, calling in part for an end to aggressive collections and an improved charity care policy
Washington CAN! released “Merciless Charity” report detailing aggressive collections and denial of charity care
2017: SEIU Healthcare 1199NW members picket the hospital, calling in part for an end to St. Joe’s collections activities against workers
“CHI Franciscan’s policies have harmed patients, including its workers,” said Suzi Powell, a Certified Nursing Assistant at St. Joseph Hospital and member of SEIU Healthcare 1199NW. “It’s time for CHI Franciscan to start living its mission and provide quality care for all its patients that doesn’t land us in collections or garnishment.”
The more than 600 Providence St. Peter nursing assistants, dietary and housekeeping staff, sterile processors, and other service workers united in SEIU Healthcare 1199NW have won across-the-board wage increases, a $15/hour minimum, health benefit security, and staffing and quality improvements. The improvements are part of a new contract which union members ratified overwhelmingly in votes this week.
“Our new contract shows the difference our union can make,” said Angel Roberson, a Patient Care Partner/ER Tech at St. Pete’s and bargaining team member. “We’re proud to win raises for everyone and also to be bringing the $15 minimum to Olympia and raise the standards for us, for our level of patient care, and for our community.”
Whereas Seattle and Seatac raised their minimum wages to $15/hour, statewide the minimum is phasing-in up to $13.50. Starting January 1, 2018, no employee at St. Peter Hospital who works in a union service position will receive less than the $15/hour minimum.
“We won huge strides forward for security—in our health benefits, in our time off, and in our jobs,” said Randi Lumbert, a Health Unit Coordinator. “Having this union contract means peace of mind for my family.”
Among the new standards are agreements that Providence will not unilaterally change health benefits or vacation time accrual and usage policies. It also increases protections for workers should layoffs be necessary.
“When workers stand together in our union, we win,” said Kristine Woodall, a Cafeteria Lead and bargaining team member. “We are proof that working together works!”
Members had been bargaining to reach this new agreement for more than a year and participated in an informational picket in spring. The new agreement will expire in 2020.
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
State nurses at Western State Hospital, Eastern State Hospital, and DSHS facilities joined community members across Washington to call for a stop to a government shutdown. At rallies, marches, and press conferences, we brought our message to the community that it’s time to invest in care and support new revenue.
June 22 marked the first day that pink slips will start to be distributed by state agencies and they prepare for a government shutdown. If a budget deal is not reached by July 1, 2017 a full state government shutdown will take place.
“I want to provide the kind of care that ensures our patients can get back to the community, and I want our patients to meet their goals and health outcomes,” said Melissa Staples, an RN at Eastern State Hospital and speaker in Spokane. “But we can’t do that if our Senators won’t fund our budget. If our state wants to be a leader on improving mental health, then we need to make sure we’re investing in the right priorities so we can all thrive.”
Instead of honoring our negotiated contract with wage increases that bring us to community standards, Senate Republicans continue to hold up our contract by proposing a plan that would give us only a flat sum of $500 per year, far short of the investment we know is needed to help us keep staff in our hospitals and facilities.
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’ve advocated throughout the legislative session through our lobby visits, phone calls, and emails to urge our elected leaders to fund our contract. Our work made the difference: the majority of legislators are standing with us because they know how essential our work is to care for our vulnerable patients and clients. Now we need to keep up the pressure to make sure the contract is funded by the deadline.
“We’re doing our part with our administration to turn this hospital around, but the Senate won’t do their part to fund the state budget,” said Paula Manalo, RN at Western State Hospital.
“You can’t get something for nothing—we need revenue for all of the things that keep our communities going. Schools, transportation, healthcare. If the Senate doesn’t raise the revenue we need and pass the budget by July 1 I’m worried we won’t be able to hire new nurses and keep the ones we have. We’ll go back to like it was before. Nobody will want to work here because we’ll be short staffed and we’ll face a higher risk of assault. We already work mandatory overtime, working 16 hours at a time with patients who need us to be fully present. We need experienced nurses who are situationally aware of the dangers of this work.”
This legislative gridlock is the result of a few extremist Senate leaders taking control of our budget process and refusing to support the revenue we need to fund essential services.
Instead of investing in good schools for our kids and healthcare that helps everyone be well, the budget from state Senate Republicans is giving corporations tax breaks instead. Hundreds of tax giveaways for special interests and corporations are clogging our tax code—some of them have been in place for decades. Right now our tax code is so upside down we’re in last place, behind every other state in our nation and families like ours pay 7 times more than wealthy individuals in taxes.
“We must clean up our tax code so we have the money to invest in creating the quality of life we all want, including dignity in our care,” said Murph Gagnon, an RN and APS nurse investigator at the WA Department of Social and Health Services and speaker at the Western State rally. “Workers like myself, my coworkers and the families that we care for have paid too much for too long while Senate Republicans let corporations get away without paying their fair share. That’s not right, and the implications are about to ripple across the state for patients and thousands of families. We do our job taking care of our most vulnerable and now its time for Senate Republicans to do their job and pass a budget that allows our communities to thrive.”
If Senate Republicans do not agree to fund our contract by the July 1 deadline, our state government will shut down and there may be some state nurses, healthcare workers, and other employees who will be put on temporary layoff.
For frontline nurses who have already received the 27.5% increase in incremental steps in September and February, this proposed budget would result in a 27.5% pay cut from our current paychecks. Nurses who were on track to receive the 27.5% increase July 1, 2017 would not receive it under this proposal and would instead remain at their current rate, below market standard.
Without wage increases that bring us to market standard, we will continue to face a staffing crisis in our facilities. Both patients and staff are at higher risk of assault when we’re short staffed, and the backlog to move patients on or off wards, connect them to services, or investigate complaints will only increase under the Senate’s proposed plan to deny funding for our contract and close Fircrest School and wards at Western State Hospital.
More than 800 nursing assistants, radiology techs, dietary and housekeeping staff, certified surgical technologists, and more at Kadlec Regional Medical Center voted on April 19-20 to unite in SEIU Healthcare 1199NW, the statewide union of nearly 30,000 nurses and healthcare workers. The caregivers cited the impact of Providence’s takeover of their facility and the need for a voice in staffing, wages, and benefits as driving the decision to form a union.
“In the 20 plus years I’ve been a mammography tech I’ve tried to treat all my patients and co-workers with kindness and respect,” said Bertha Montes, a Lead Mammography Technologist. “Over the last few months I’ve given my time and part of myself to help form this union. I believe that when we come together we can have a positive influence on the community, each other, and our patients.”
The workers have been forming their union for more than six months. A committee of worker-volunteer organizers talked with their coworkers about the need for a voice in our changing healthcare industry. Employees are looking forward to making improvements. The vote was decisive with a large 422 to 297 voting in favor of the union.
“I have such a rewarding job, get to witness new life come in to this world and have the opportunity to take care of the mothers and newborns of this community,” said Rachel Luna, an OB Tech from the Birth Center. “The work we do at our community hospital isn’t easy and we want to be treated with respect. I stood up with my co-workers and team to form a union at Kadlec because I’m ready to move forward. We’ve seen changes in recent years that didn’t work for staff and patients and now we will have all come together for positive change.
The caregivers join the more than 17,000 other SEIU Healthcare 1199NW members working at Providence facilities including St. Peter in Olympia, St. Joseph in Chewelah, Home Health Care and Hospice of Snohomish County, SoundHomeCare and Hospice of Thurston, Mason, and Lewis Counties, and Swedish Medical Center in Seattle.
The caregivers will now identify bargaining priorities and elect a bargaining committee to negotiate a first contract.