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UW - WSNA Contract

2015-2017 Biennium

Article 11 - Employment Practices

11.1 Health and Safety.

  1. Health Tests.
    The Employer shall bear the cost of and provide bargaining unit nurses with tuberculosis testing including chest x-rays where called for by state law, available on duty time at the University of Washington Medical Center or other designated facility. All nurses in the bargaining unit shall be permitted, upon request, a throat culture, the cost of which shall be borne by the Employer.
    When an RN feels at risk, the hepatitis B and C screen and hepatitis B vaccine, pre- and post-test HIV counseling and the HIV test will be offered at no cost with the approval of the Employee Health Nurse and the final determination by the Infection Control Committee. . Shingles vaccines (for RNs 60 years of age and over), DPT and Influenza vaccine will be offered to all RNs at no cost.
  2. Policies.
    It is the Employer's intent to make reasonable and proper provisions for the maintenance of appropriate standards of health and safety within the workplace. The Employer shall comply with applicable Federal and State health and safety legislation and regulations and has designated the University's Environmental Health and Safety Department to advise and monitor compliance with such standards. Any RN shall have the right to file a report with Department of Labor and Industries.
  3. Working Conditions.
    All work shall be performed in conformity with applicable safety standards. Employees are encouraged to immediately report any unsafe working conditions to their supervisor. No employee shall be disciplined for reporting any condition nor be required to work or to operate equipment when he/she has reasonable grounds to believe such action would result in immediate danger to life or safety. On request, the Environmental Health and Safety Department shall review the concern and issue a decision. The RN may request that such determination be reviewed and finally resolved by Department of Labor and Industries.
  4. University Medical Center Health and Safety Advisory Committee.
    The Association will designate one bargaining unit member to serve on the Employer's Health and Safety Committee. The nurse will be granted release time to attend committee meetings. The Association will encourage nurses covered by this Agreement to participate in and cooperate in the Committee.
  5. Required Items.
    When required by the Employer, protective devices, equipment and clothing will be furnished by the Employer and used by nurses.
  6. Inspections.
    Upon request, the Local Unit will designate an elected bargaining unit employee to accompany Department of Labor and Industries' inspectors during workplace inspections. Paid release time shall be provided for such participation.

11.2 Personnel File.
A nurse shall have access to his/her own personnel file for review in the office upon written request to Human Resources. The Employer may remove any documents in a probationary nurse's file that were obtained through assurances of confidentiality to a third party at the time of original appointment.

Upon request of a nurse who has achieved permanent status, the Employer or designee will remove pre-employment reference statements from the nurse's personnel file.

The nurse shall be sent a copy of any adverse material placed in the official or departmental file. Notes or files kept by nurse managers regarding staff shall not be shared with others unless shared with the RN first and shall not be kept more than three years. The nurse shall have the right to have placed in the file a statement of rebuttal or correction of information contained in the file within a reasonable period of time after the nurse becomes aware that the information is in the file.

11.3 Liability Insurance.
The Employer shall provide appropriate liability insurance for all nurses in the bargaining unit and shall provide, upon request, a summary of the policy or statement of coverage.

11.4 Performance Evaluations.
Medical Center management shall provide performance evaluations during the probationary period and thereafter annually in accordance with the Medical Center's evaluation procedure. Further, it is the Medical Center's intention to advise each nurse of the status of his/her work performance in accordance with appropriate standards of nursing practice as needed or through the performance evaluation mechanism.

A copy of the evaluation shall be given to the nurse. Performance evaluations will be removed from the department file three years after the date of completion.

11.5 Uniforms/Clothing Damage.
The Employer will reimburse nurses for personal uniforms or work clothing irreparably damaged or torn by patients. Such reimbursement shall be based on the estimated replacement value of the clothing damaged.

Prior to any decisions by a department head to change the policy on nurses' uniforms, employees in the department shall have an opportunity to consult with the department head regarding the policy. The department head will give serious consideration to the wishes of the nurses in making a decision.

11.6 Employee Assistance.
The Employer and the Association recognize that alcoholism and chemical dependency are chronic and treatable conditions. Efforts should be made to identify these conditions and prevent or minimize erosion in work performance. The Employer and the Association will encourage and support employee participation in appropriate programs including the UW Care Link Services through which employees may seek confidential assistance in the resolution of chemical dependency or other problems that may impact job performance. UW Care Link Services may presently be reached at 1-866-298-3898 (business hours) or 1-800-833-3031 (24 hour line).

No employee's job security will be placed in jeopardy as a result of seeking and following through with corrective treatment, counseling or advice providing that the employee's job performance meets supervisory expectations.

11.7 Floating.
Nurses required to float within the Medical Center inpatient or outpatient settings will receive adequate orientation. Appropriate resources will be available as follows:

  1. Introduction to the charge nurse and/or nurse resource for the shift;
  2. Review of emergency procedures for that unit;
  3. Tour of the physical environment and location of supplies and equipment;
  4. Review of the patient assignment and unit routine.

Nurses shall not be required to perform new procedures without nursing supervision. Nurses shall seek supervisory guidance for those tasks or procedures for which they have not been trained. Nurses who encounter difficulties related to floating should report these to the appropriate Nurse Manager. There will be no adverse consequences for a nurse filing a concern.

The Nurse Manager (or designee) will seek volunteers among the nurses present on the unit before assigning nurses to float. Floating will be assigned on an equitable basis as determined by each unit. The Medical Center will make a good faith effort not to require a nurse to float more than once per shift. Nurses assigned to float will receive a patient assignment taking into account the nurse's training and experience. When feasible, the Nursing Supervisor or designee will offer the Patient Care Unit(s) an option to recommend floating assignments for unit RNs before per diems are assigned. Attempts will be made to float RNs in designated clinical clusters.

Upon request, RNs with over 20 years of continuous professional nursing service at UWMC shall float only after all others when skill-mix permits.

11.8 Travel Pay.
Any nurse required by the Employer to travel to a place of work other than his/her regular official duty station shall be reimbursed for travel costs if eligible, in accordance with the Administrative Policy Statement 70.2,

11.9 Employment Information.
A written form will be used to specify initial conditions of hiring (including number of hours to be worked, rate of pay, unit and shift). A copy of such form shall be given to the nurse.

Upon request to an immediate supervisor, nurses will be given written confirmation of a change in status or separation in accordance with University of Washington policy.

Upon request to the payroll office, records shall be readily available for nurses to determine their number of hours worked, rate of pay, sick leave accrued and vacation accrued. If management makes a change that affects a nurse's paycheck, the nurse will be informed and a record of the change will be available to the nurse.

11.10 Staff Meetings and Unit Based Work Team Meetings.
Staff meetings will take place on a regular basis, not less than quarterly. Minutes will be kept and filed on the unit for at least three years. Any nurses required to attend these meetings will do so on paid time.

11.11 Staffing.
The Medical Center is responsible for the development and implementation of all staffing plans for nursing. The general staffing plan is reviewed and modified as necessary, at least annually in accordance with the UWMC budget process.

The Medical Center will provide adequate staffing to assure patient safety and the health of nurses. In addition, the Medical Center agrees to make a good faith effort to assure that:

Although the content of staffing plans is not subject to the grievance procedure, the above commitments are subject to the grievance procedure. Unsafe working conditions related to staffing levels are subject to the grievance procedure.

Each unit/clinic/work area of the Medical Center will seek staff nurse input into the development and modification of their staffing plans. Such plans on each unit consider items including: patient acuity, patient activity (admissions, discharges and transfers), total patient days and daily census patterns unit census/volume, patient length of stay, patient transports, the use of patient restraints, level of RN training and experience, optimal number and training of support personnel and unit geography. Day to day adjustments to the staffing plans are made based on the professional judgment of appropriate nursing personnel including the charge nurse and take into consideration the items listed above as they relate to current patient care needs. The Medical Center will make the staffing plan available on each patient care unit in the facility. The Medical Center will inform the Association through Conference Committee in the event of changes in the general staffing plan for nursing.

The Union has the right to appoint up to three RN WSNA members each January to serve an annual term as a member of the UWMC Staffing Committee. These members will be added to the committee in addition to the existing members.

Members from the UWMC Staffing Committee will report on progress and status at least quarterly at UWMC-WSNA Conference Committee.

11.12 Staffing Concerns.
Nurses, individually or as a group, believing there is an immediate workload/staffing problem should bring that problem to the attention of the supervisor or Nurse Manager as soon as the problem is identified. Nurses believing there is a continuous or potential workload/staffing problem, which may include the ability to receive rest periods and lunch breaks, should attempt to resolve the problem in discussions at the work unit level. Continuous or potential workload/staffing problems discussed at the work unit level that have not been resolved may be raised through the Joint Conference Committee. The Joint Conference Committee may determine that a unit-based work team would best address the workload/staffing problem raised. If the Joint Conference Committee makes that determination, a sub-committee consisting of an appropriate number of staff nurses who are from the unit and shift(s) experiencing the workload/staffing problem (appropriate number of staff nurses to be determined by the Joint Conference Committee), a WSNA representative and appropriate management staff will meet to discuss the problem raised. The sub-committee(s) shall report its results back to the Joint Conference Committee.

11.13 Clinical Advisor.
When the numbers of new graduate nurses on a specific unit comprise a reasonable portion of the unit's staff and those nurses have completed their formal preceptor period, the Nurse Managers and/or Charge Nurse will assess the situation and, as appropriate, appoint a Clinical Advisor to provide additional clinical support. To the extent possible, the patient load of the Clinical Advisor will be adjusted in consideration for the additional clinical support being provided. As a general rule, the Clinical Advisor will not be assigned charge duties.

11.14 Correction of Payroll Errors.
Recognizing the importance of employees receiving correct pay, UWMC intends to correct payroll errors as soon as possible after the error has been discovered.

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