Nurses Petition Federal Court to Stop Virginia Mason Medical Center's Mandatory Flu Vaccination Policy

SEATTLE -- Washington State Nurses Association (WSNA), representing more than 600 registered nurses at Virginia Mason Medical Center (VMMC), filed a petition Oct. 1 in Federal Court seeking an injunction to stop the implementation of the hospital's policy requiring mandatory flu vaccination for all RNs. The association says this unilaterally implemented policy violates the terms and the very purpose of the collective bargaining agreement between WSNA and VMMC.


The WSNA does not oppose the flu vaccination and in fact strongly encourages

people (including nurses) to get them.  However, it does oppose any healthcare

facility threatening to fire people if they do not submit to the mandatory

vaccination, especially in the absence of a declared public health emergency

and a recommendation for mandatory vaccination by the CDC.


"We believe that the receipt of a flu vaccination should be an individual

choice and that education -- not brute force -- is the best way to encourage

nurses to comply.  Since the hospital is unwilling to negotiate with WSNA on

the policy, we are left with no choice but to seek an injunction from a

Federal Court," said Barbara Frye, RN, director of labor relations at WSNA.


"The registered nurses at VMMC will not tolerate an employer who threatens

to fire nurses who do not comply with their mandatory flu policy.  We are

asking the Court to intervene on the nurses' behalf in order to stop the

implementation of this policy pending an arbitration between the Hospital and

WSNA to negotiate this important issue," said LauraLee Mayorkinos, RN, WSNA Local Unit Chair at VMMC.


Founded in 1908, WSNA is a constituent of the American Nurses

Association/United American Nurses and is recognized by the National Labor

Relations Board as a collective bargaining agent.  WSNA represents and

promotes the professional development of more than 12,000 nurses in Washington

state and their economic and general welfare by projecting a positive and

realistic view of nursing, and by informing the Legislature and regulatory

agencies of healthcare issues affecting registered nurses and the citizens of

Washington state.


Source: Washington State Nurses Association