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2014 State Legislative Agenda
The 2014 legislative session will begin on January 3 in Olympia and our lawmakers will once again face important decisions that affect our workplaces. We know that in order to make progress on our priority issues this year, our elected leaders need to hear from us, hear our stories, and hear why these issues matter to us.
As the legislative session continues we will keep you updated on how we plan to keep up the pressure in order to make progress on these issues.
We believe that when workers are respected for their labor with fair wages, benefits and working conditions, those workers and the people they serve are all better off. With action by the 2014 legislature, we can make progress to achieving this.
ADVANCE PAID SICK AND SAFE LEAVE
Pass: HB 1313 and SB 5594. Just like we won first day paid sick and safe time in Seattle, we call on lawmakers to extend it to all workers in Washington. All workers should have the same right to take time off when they are sick and to not be punished for doing so. It’s time for legislators to make our workplaces across the state more healthy and productive.
CLOSE THE WALMART LOOPHOLE
Big employers like Walmart are exploiting a loophole in the Affordable Care Act and shifting the cost of health coverage of part time workers onto taxpayers. By cutting hours, these large companies can dump their low-wage employees on to taxpayer-subsidized coverage without a penalty. The Legislature should close this loophole and fine large companies like Walmart for shirking their responsibility. The money could help fund state and local governments’ Medicaid costs and boost payments to the doctors and hospitals treating our communities’ poorest patients.
IMPROVE VOTER RIGHTS
Pass HB 1413 and SB 5473.The Washington Voting Rights Act will help ensure that every voter has an equal opportunity to elect the candidate of his or her choice. Communities in various parts of our state have effectively had the power of their vote taken away by unfair, broken electoral systems. The WVRA empowers local governments to fix this problem.
HEALTH CARE WORKERS SPECIFIC AGENDA
PASS A PATIENT SAFETY PACKAGE THAT PROTECTS US ALL BY:
CLOSE MANDATORY OVERTIME LOOPHOLE
For too long, on-call health care professionals have been used not for emergencies, but to fill in for chronic staff shortages. This bill would restrict the use of pre-scheduled on-call time, prevent hospitals from forcing mandatory overtime for non-emergency procedures, and extend current protections for nurses to other health care professionals that provide direct patient care.
ENSURING UNINTERRUPTED MEAL AND REST BREAKS
Health care professionals have to be sharp 100% of the time. Having an uninterrupted break to recharge can literally be a lifesaver. Working 10, 12 or even more hours in a row because hospital CEOs didn’t staff enough is not good for providers or our patients. This bill requires that hospitals give workers the uninterrupted breaks that we need to take care of our patients.
PROVIDE SAFE STAFFING FOR NURSES
Under current law, CEOs can and do ignore their staffing committees and cut nurses in favor of six-figure CEO salaries. This bill will set a “Statewide Safety Standard” to make sure that the heart of patient care – having enough nurses to care for patients – comes first and require CEOs to listen to their own staffing committee when more staff is required.