The following is from the Washington State Nurses Association (WSNA):
TACOMA (Nov. 2, 2016) — After 10 months at the bargaining table, the registered nurses at MultiCare Tacoma General represented by the Washington State Nurses Association (WSNA) have announced that they will not take voluntary overtime or extra shifts Nov. 10-17. This concerted union action is in response to MultiCare’s ongoing refusal to address staffing issues and break coverage in a way that supports the safe care of patients at the hospital.
Nurses are fed up with MultiCare’s behavior at the bargaining table and unfair labor practices, including unlawful surveillance, intimidation and lack of respect. The action was agreed upon at a bargaining unit meeting on Oct. 19.
Nurses at Tacoma General are being stretched to the limit, covering more than the nationally recommended number of patients and being called on almost a daily basis to pick up extra hours and extra shifts. RNs are running from high acuity patient to high acuity patient, distressed that they may not be able to get them the care they need as quickly as they need it. Oftentimes, nurses work entire shifts without even going to the bathroom.
The Tacoma General nurses have gone to the bargaining table 14 times — two of those times with a federal mediator. Rather than engage in fruitful negotiations, Tacoma General management has moved forward unilaterally with changes to working conditions, including restructuring units and making units “rebid” for their jobs. Tacoma General management continues to defy an arbitrator’s “final and binding” order that they discontinue the use of “Break Buddies,” which doubles a nurse’s patient load so that her “buddy” can go on break. In reality, too many nurses aren’t getting their breaks. In one quarter alone this year, 18,000 rest breaks were missed. Nurses shouldn’t have to fear for their colleagues and their patients every time they take a break.
The Tacoma General nurses will continue to fight for national staffing standards to ensure they don’t have too many patients to care for all of them safely. They will continue to fight for enough rest between shifts to get the sleep and food they need to come back to the hospital and give good care. And, they will continue to demand that MultiCare put Patients before Profits!
You can support Tacoma General nurses by liking their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/NursingStrongTG/ and by changing your Facebook profile photo to “I support Tacoma General Nurses” during the No Overtime/No Extra Shifts job action.
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