Patient Safety and Nursing Shortage Focus of Picketing by RNs at St. Joseph Medical Center
SEATTLE, Nov. 28 /-- Hundreds of nurses from St. Joseph Medical Center and surrounding areas hit the streets for information picketing to protest stalled contract negotiations between the Hospital and the Washington State Nurses Association (WSNA), representing more than 900 RNs at St. Joseph Medical Center. WSNA has also filed an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board against the Hospital for not allowing the union to public areas of the Hospital.
Critical issues to be addressed in the contract negotiations include:
- Adequate RN staff for safe patient care -- nursing input in the development on staffing plans on each unit based on considerations such as patient acuity, patient activity, and RN experience.
- Protection of current benefits -- maintaining current health care benefits in order to retain and recruit expert nursing staff
- Competitive wages -- keeping pace with regional hospitals in order to recruit and retain qualified nurses
"It is unfortunate that the Hospital administration does not seem to recognize the important role of registered nurses during this time of nursing shortage. We hope to have the contract resolved in the upcoming mediation sessions in order to ensure that the community receives the safe and quality care that it deserve," said Tamara King, RN, Local Unit Chair.
"Refusing access to the union to meet with our members in public spaces at the Hospital is a violation of our collective bargaining contract. Denying our members the right to meet with their union to investigate grievances and talk about contract issues in a public cafeteria is outrageous and a clear violation of the National Labor Relations Act. These tactics do not serve the interest of patients -- a fair collective bargaining contract is what the nurses demand and the community deserves," said Barbara Frye, RN, Director of Labor Relations at WSNA.
Information picketing at St. Joseph Medical Center on Nov. 28th from 7:00am-5:30pm on "J" St. from 17th St.-19th St.
Founded in 1908, WSNA is the professional organization representing more than 13,000 registered nurses in Washington State. WSNA effectively advocates for the improvement of health standards and availability of quality health care for all people; promotes high standards for the nursing profession; and advances the professional and economic development of nurses.
Source: Washington State Nurses Association