WHEN 4 BECOMES 200 - Lourdes Nurses Win Historic Decision; Collective Rights Upheld

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It’s about respect and the willingness on the hospital administration’s part to provide their frontline staff with a good healthy working environment. We often work 12+ hours on a shift with a late lunch and rest breaks are few and frankly hard to come by. But rest and breaks are critical for us to be able to be at our best for our patients. This Supreme Court decision is a very important win as it gives us the opportunity to stand together for our rights.
— Kathleen Christianson, RN BS

Overtired. Overworked. And no time to take a rest during a long shift. Sound familiar? There ought to be a law against making people work without a break. In fact, there is. The problem is that employers who violate the law think they can just get away with it. The consequence - our patients get lower quality care, we get more and more tired and stressed, and our employers put more and more money into their pocket because we are working for free. Does that sound fair to you? Here’s a quick story about what Nurses at one hospital in Washington State are doing to stand up and say no more….

A few years back, a witness testified during a case that the local Tri-Cities, WA Hospital (called Lourdes) did not track or record missed breaks.  The Union conducted an investigation and concluded that the Hospital was in violation of laws that require meals and breaks as well as record keeping.  At the time, many nurses reported to the Union that they were required to stay at the hospital oftentimes watching monitors while on lunch or break.  Further, when nurses were left on assignment without the ability to get away from duties to eat or relax, there was no system to report the missed break period. The nurses filed an individual and class action lawsuit claiming they regularly missed breaks without compensation due to Lourdes failure to ensure they could take breaks and record them. 

The trial court ruled against the nurses, but the nurse didn’t give up. With further assistance by their union UFCW 21 and Washington Employment Lawyers Association the nurses renewed the effort for a class action case and called on the Washington Supreme Court to review the case.  In April of 2018, the Washington State Supreme Court heard the case on whether nurses could file a class action lawsuit against Lourdes Medical Center and overturned the decision of the lower court and unanimously ruled in the favor of the Nurses to allow the nurses to pursue a class-action case in a Franklin County Court. It ruled that the trial court had “abused its discretion” by finding that individual issues outweighed the collective issue of missed breaks and meal periods. 

This will now allow for the nurses to go forward with the strongest case possible, as a class action, instead of being forced as each individual to sue. 

Excerpts from Opinion: 
Chavez v. Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, No. 94592-6

  • “We find that the individual issues in this case do not override the central, predominant issue of whether Lourdes failed to ensure its nurses could take breaks and record missed breaks.”

  • “Concentrating these claims into one forum and certifying this class is likely the only way that the nurses’ rights will be vindicated because individual nurses may be reluctant to sue their employers.”

  • “Individual nurses likely do not have the bargaining power to achieve systemic victories—but here, merely filing this class action appears to have caused Lourdes to uniformly change its break tracking procedures and implement a new accounting system.”

  • “Each of the CR 23(b)(3) factors weighs in favor of finding that a class action is superior to alternative methods of adjudication such as joinder or small claims court. We remand to the trial court with instructions to certify the class.”

What’s next?

There will now be a period where nurses receive notice of the class, followed by an additional discovery period, and then a trial in Superior Court in Pasco.

Knowing Our Rights

It’s important that we know our rights. Our UFCW 21 union contract allows us to have a half hour unpaid meal break and two 15 minute paid breaks during an 8 hour shift. Nurses required to remain on shift during their meal period, shall be compensated at the appropriate rate of pay. Under the Washington State Law, we are entitled to an additional 10 minute break during a 12 hour shift. Read our contract online @ www.ufcw21.org

To find out how to get more involved in building our Union at Lourdes, contact Union Representative Carol Cropper at 509-340-7372.
 

General Membership Meeting Spring 2018

Merger Vote to be Conducted at UFCW 21 Membership Meetings

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There will be a vote of the membership at the UFCW 21 May, 2018 General Membership Meetings (schedule for meetings are included in this notice) on a merger agreement between UFCW 367 and UFCW 21. UFCW 367 represents approximately 6,800 workers in common industries and counties as UFCW 21 members.

At the meetings, members will have an opportunity to review the merger agreement, ask questions, and discuss the merger prior to voting. Under the merger agreement, Todd Crosby and Faye Guenther, the current President and Secretary-Treasurer of UFCW 21, will remain the two top officers of UFCW 21. If you would like to obtain a copy of the merger agreement in advance of the meetings, please contact Maria Milliron at 206-458-6162 or 1-800-732-1188, ext 6162.


Aberdeen
Monday, May 21
6:00 pm   
Grays Harbor Hospital
West Campus
915 Anderson Drive
Conference Room E - 1st Floor

Auburn (New Day)
Monday, May 21
2:30 pm
Auburn Regional Medical Center
Plaza 1: 202 N Division St
AMC 1st Floor - Board Room

Bellevue
Thursday, May 24
9:00 am & 7:00 pm
Sheraton Hotel
100 112th Ave NE
Newport Room

Bellingham
Wednesday, May 23
7:00 pm
Quality Inn Baron Suites
100 E Kellogg Road
Olympus Room

Bremerton
Thursday, May 24
11:00 am
Harrison Medical Center
2520 Cherry Ave
North Dining Room

Brewster
Wednesday, May 23
5:00 pm
Three Rivers Hospital
415 Hospital Way
Hillcrest Admin. Bldg. 
Commons Area

Centralia
Wednesday, May 23
10:00 am
Providence Centralia Hospital
914 S Scheuber Road
Cafeteria

Colville/Chewelah
Wednesday, May 23
5:00 pm
Nordlig Hotel
101 W Grant Ave, Chewelah
Meeting Room

Coupeville
Wednesday, May 23
3:15 pm  
Whidbey General Hospital
101 N Main St
Conference Room Trailer
(on same side as EMS)

Enumclaw
Monday, May 21
1:00 pm
Guesthouse Inn
1000 Griffin Ave
Meeting Room

Everett
Thursday, May 24
9:00 am & 7:00 pm
Snohomish County PUD
2320 California Street
AM/PM - TC2-A

Federal Way
Tuesday, May 22
9:00 am
Hometown Office Suites & Svcs
33530 1st Way South #102
Classroom

Forks
Monday, May 21
2:00 pm
Forks Community Hospital
530 Bogachiel Way
Main Conference Room
 

 

 

Kennewick
Monday, May 21
6:00 pm
IBEW 112
2637 W Albany Ave
Meeting Room

Kent
Monday, May 21
9:00 am & 5:00 pm
Kent Commons
525 4th Ave N
AM - Interurban Room
PM - Olympic Room

Lynnwood
Monday, May 21
7:00 pm
Snohomish County PUD
21014 63rd Ave W
Conference Room

Monroe
Thursday, May 24
3:30 pm
EvergreenHealth Monroe
14701 179th Ave SE
The Café Corner

Moses Lake
Thursday, May 24
5:00 pm
Samaritan Healthcare
801 E Wheeler Road
Classroom 401

Mount Vernon
Tuesday, May 22  
7:00 pm
UFCW 21 Office
1510 N 18th St
Conference Room

Oak Harbor
Wednesday, May 23
7:00 pm
Best Western Harbor Plaza
33175 SR 20
Oak Harbor Room

Olympia
Monday, May 21
12:00 pm
Kaiser Permanente
700 Lily Rd NE
Conference Room A

Tuesday, May 22
3:30 pm
Capital Medical Center
3900 Capital Mall Dr SW
Cafeteria

Wednesday, May 23
1:00 pm
Providence St. Peter Hospital
413 Lily Road NE
Cafeteria

Omak
Tuesday, May 22
2:30 pm
Mid-Valley Hospital
Family Medical Building
800 Jasmine St
Room E
(Family Medical Center)

Tuesday, May 22
5:15 pm
Mid-Valley Clinic
529 Jasmine St
Break Room 

Port Angeles
Wednesday, May 23
4:30 pm
Olympic Medical Center
939 Caroline Street
Wendel Room

Port Townsend
Tuesday, May 22
12:00 pm & 5:15 pm
Pt. Townsend Senior Ctr.
620 Tyler St
Board Room
 

 


 

Republic (New Day & Time) 
Wednesday, May 23
1:30 pm  
Ferry County Memorial Hospital
36 Klondike Road
HUB Conference Room

Sea-Tac
Monday, May 21
7:00 pm
Angle Lake Family Resource Center
4040 S 188th Street, Suite #100
Meeting Room

Seattle
Tuesday, May 22  
9:30 am & 7:00 pm
Phinney Neighborhood Center
6532 Phinney Ave N
AM/PM - Room 6 Blue Bldg.

Thursday, May 24
9:00 am & 7:00 pm
UFCW 21 - Seattle
5030 1st Ave S
Joe Crump Hall

Sequim
Wednesday, May 23
7:00 pm
Quality Inn
134 River Road
Breakfast Room

Shelton (New Day)
Wednesday, May 23
12:00 pm
Mason General
901 Mountain View Dr
Washington Room

Silverdale
Wednesday, May 23
9:00 am & 5:30 pm
UFCW 21 Office
3888 NW Randall Way #105
Conference Room

South Bend
Monday, May 21
3:00 pm
Willapa Harbor Hospital
800 Alder Street
Evergreen Room

Spokane
Thursday, May 24
8:00 am, 1:00 pm & 4:00 pm
UFCW 21 Office
1710 N Calispel St
Conference Room

Tacoma
Tuesday, May 22
2:00 pm & 5:00 pm
First United Methodist Church
621 Tacoma Ave S
Room 119

Tonasket
Wednesday, May 23
12:30 pm & 2:00 pm
North Valley Hospital
203 S. Western Ave
Orientation Room

Walla Walla
Monday, May 21
1:00 pm
Providence St. Mary Medical Center
401 W. Poplar St
Vincentian Room

Wenatchee
Thursday, May 24
12:00 pm
Confluence Health
1300 Fuller St
Conference Room B