How we’re fighting for you: #
While you’re on the front lines working to care for our communities, your union is fighting for you.
Over recent weeks we’ve heard from thousands of members, and we’re working around the clock to ensure you have what you need to stay safe and serve your patients. In this email, you’ll find updates on top issues, as well as actions you can take to advocate for yourselves and all health care workers.
Building support for your needs
On Friday, we launched a joint petition with SEIU Healthcare 1199NW, UFCW21 and OPEIU8, demanding adequate PPE, employer-provided scrubs, paid leave, hazard pay, accommodation for at-risk nurses, and employer communication regarding possible exposure. In just 4 days our petition has over 10,000 signatures and we’re working to build it even higher as we call on employers and elected officials to step up and provide the protection and support for frontline health care workers.
Sign the petition here, then share it with your friends and family!
Providing PPE to all nurses and health care workers
PPE is the number one issue for nurses and health care workers. Here are key steps we are taking or have taken to get PPE to members:
- Letter to Governor, Secretary of Health, Vice Admiral: WSNA continues to call on local, state and federal governments to provide transparent, updated information on the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We sent a letter to Governor Inslee, Secretary Wiesman, and Vice Admiral Bono requesting greater transparency in the PPE supply chain – ultimately, we are requesting a weekly report on where PPE is and how quickly supplies coming in from the national stockpile are getting into the hands of nurses and other providers. The letter includes a number of additional requests and is being sent in partnership by WSNA, UFCW21, SEIU Healthcare 1199NW, Teamsters 117, the Washington State Council of Fire Fighters, and the Washington Council of Police & Sheriffs.
- Calls with Elected Officials: We are communicating daily with the Governor’s Office, and also have frequent calls with members of Washington’s congressional delegation, county leadership, and municipal leadership. During these calls we continue to advocate for your needs around PPE, COVID-19 testing, appropriate administrative leave, protections for vulnerable workers, childcare, alternate housing, and more. Our elected leaders are working with us to deliver results in these areas and more announcements will be happening soon.
- Pierce County PPE Delivery: Last Friday, WSNA joined UFCW21 and SEIU Healthcare 1199NW in delivering many boxes of PPE to the Pierce County Emergency Operations Center. This PPE will be distributed to area hospitals for use by nurses and health care workers. It was collected through our joint PPE drive at suppliessaveliveswa.org.
- COVID-19 Healthy Workplace Survey: Due to the ever-changing nature of a pandemic, this survey is new and may be one of a series we request Washington state registered nurses participate in as time moves on. WSNA needs more detail about what you’re facing daily on your unit and in your facility during this COVID-19 crisis. The data you supply will help to directly support the advocacy efforts underway to secure the resources you need to take care of your patients and each other. Your time completing this survey will make a difference in the lives of frontline health care workers around the state and the country.
Taking care of you and your families
While you’re taking care of patients, your own families need care. We’re working to provide extra resources and support, including:
- Childcare: Nearly 1,000 WSNA members completed our childcare survey, which has now been shared with state and local elected officials, as well as with the media. Work is happening at the state and local levels to stand up free childcare for health care workers and first responders. If you need childcare, please contact Child Care Aware of Washington Family Center via its website or call 1 – 800-446‑1114. Child Care Aware is tracking available childcare across the state and is the quickest way to be referred to open and available care, including extended hour and weekend care options.
- Housing for Nurses: We have heard that many of you live with people in a COVID-19 vulnerable category and are worried about going home. WSNA has shared these concerns with state and local elected officials and are currently working with these leaders to identify potential options, including hotel rooms, for nurses who need a place to rest before going back to the hospital. More on this soon.
Pandemic Agreements with Employers
We’re working to protect your health and your rights at work by negotiating agreements with employers statewide, with a special focus on the issues in our joint petition. Here are a few successful agreements thus far:
- CHI Franciscan: WSNA has negotiated two agreements with CHI. The first addresses when nurses are entitled to paid leave. The second agreement addresses voluntary floating from one CHI facility to another. We are currently negotiating additional agreements around other protections for nurses, and whether and under what circumstances nurses can be floated within a facility.
- MultiCare: WSNA has negotiated a Memorandum of Understanding with MultiCare that addresses many similar issues. We have also proposed language that would provide for additional protections and are in negotiations with MultiCare.
At both CHI and MultiCare, we are going back for supplemental agreements on additional issues. Discussions with numerous employers and health systems are continuing throughout the state.
Speaking out against the silencing of nurses and doctors
WSNA issued a statement on the issue our nurses and other health care workers being muzzled in an attempt by hospitals to preserve their image.
No health care worker should face being disciplined or fired for speaking the truth. Doctors, nurses and other health care workers on the frontlines know firsthand what patients need and where our health care system is falling short in its response to COVID-19.
Telling your stories in the press
Stories from frontline workers are a powerful way to build public support and shift policy. We’ve been hard at work bringing your voices into the discussion in Washington state and nationally. Here are a few examples of stories and pieces featuring WSNA members and our allies.
- “WA nurses and health care workers demand safe working conditions during COVID-19 pandemic,” KHQ.com, March 30
- “Expired Respirators. Reused Masks. Nurses in the Nation’s Original Covid-19 Epicenter Offer Sobering Accounts of What Could Come,” ProPublica, March 28
- “Bellingham ER doctor who criticized hospital’s coronavirus measures says he was fired,” Bellingham Herald, March 28.
- “US hospitals tell staff to stay quiet about coronavirus working conditions,” New York Post, March 31
- “Hospitals threatening to fire workers for speaking out about coronavirus shortages,” The hill, March 31
- “Hospitals Tell Doctors They’ll Be Fired If They Speak Out About Lack Of Gear,” Bloomberg, March 31
If you have any questions, please contact your WSNA Nurse Representative.