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United we stand to demand respect and safe working conditions!

Dear co-workers at Harborview Medical Center and Northwest Hospital,

On September 15 a coalition of union members from Harborview Medical Center and UW Northwest met with UW management and Labor Relations to discuss and bargain the implementation of mandatory call and overtime. As we know, mandatory overtime protections are the law for all healthcare techs and CNAs in Washington. Read an overview of the new law that was passed thanks to our actions and the unity we built in our workplaces and in Olympia. Our intent at the meeting was to make inquiry and work with the university to properly roll out and implement the law to ensure our co-workers do not burn out and are able to provide proper, safe patient care.

UW Labor Relations ended our meeting when they noticed that, by answering our questions, it was clear management was not in compliance with the law. They refused to answer our questions and asked that we send them an information request instead.

It is very disappointing — what was an opportunity to collaborate in an effort to ensure that we are taking care of our patients safely, turned out to be yet another instance where management and Labor Relations chose to disrespect us, our work and the patients we work so hard to take care of.

We refuse to accept this behavior by the University of Washington and demand respect and safe working conditions.

But that’s not all. The University of Washington is trying to introduce a union-busting, two-tier furlough system. At Harborview, this proposed change blatantly targets our lowest-paid members, including many member of color and members who have immigrated.

Management is proposing the following for furloughs through the end of 2020:

  • First-tier employees will receive one week’s notice before a furlough
  • The second tier, including PAs, ARNPs, RNs at Harborview and PSSs, MAs, most techs, and therapists at NWH would receive only 24 hours’ notice of a furlough
  • Anyone on furlough could be mandatorily recalled to work with only 48-hour notice
  • Because a worker must be placed on furlough for at least a week to receive unemployment benefits, workers furloughed for shorter periods will be forced to use their accrued leave if they wish to be paid.
  • Management stated that there is no financial reason for this change, but we know that their intent is to divide us when we all need to be standing together more than ever.

This is not acceptable and will be unsafe for our patients and economically disastrous to each of us. We must take action together across UW Medicine to say no to draconian cuts to our staffing and pay through furloughs.

  1. Join us by signing our coalition petition calling on Lisa Brandenburg to withdraw UW Medicine’s harmful proposals.
  2. Join us on Tuesday, September 22 for a socially distant rally outside of Lisa Brandenburg’s office to call on UW Medicine to prioritize safe patient care.

When we have worked together in the past to prevent furloughs at Northwest and Harborview, we have been able to stop management from making a bad situation worse. We know that if we unite again, we can save our jobs and put a stop to this unsafe plan.

In Solidarity,

Nike Jawando-Williams, IONM, Harborview Medical center
Genevieve Sanford, Ultrasound Sonographer, UWMC – Northwest
Grace Yang, RN, Harborview Medical Center