|To:||Hospital Chief Executive Officers, Human Resource Staff, Legal Counsel and Government Affairs Staff|
|From:||Jaclyn Greenberg, Policy Director, Legal Affairs | JaclynG@wsha.org | (206) 216-2506|
|Subject:||New labor relations-related requirement for contractors of the Department of Social and Health Services|
The purpose of this bulletin is to inform hospitals and health systems that provide “adult care, mental health, addiction, disability support, or youth services” as contractors of the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) about a new contractual requirement to provide an assurance that such services will not be disrupted or delayed by economic or industrial action. The requirement applies to new contracts and renewals of existing contracts as of June 11, 2020, under a new law SB 6096.
Hospitals and health systems and any other private contractors of DSHS that provide “adult care, mental health, addiction, disability support, or youth services” are subject to SB 6096. As discussed below, these services are undefined.
Review this bulletin and consult with your labor relations counsel about evaluating pending, new or existing DSHS contracts that are subject to renewal for compliance with SB 6096. This evaluation may include identifying or preparing agreements with labor organizations that could satisfy the assurance contemplated by SB 6096.
Assurance that services are uninterrupted due to economic or industrial action. Private contractors of DSHS, such as hospitals and health systems, that provide “adult care, mental health, addiction, disability support, or youth services” must now provide an assurance to the agency that such services will not be disrupted or delayed by economic or industrial action (i.e. a labor dispute) in order to receive or renew a contract. SB 6096 does not define the above services. The law’s requirements are located within DSHS’s authorizing statute, Chapter 43.20A RCW. Absent guidance from DSHS, one may interpret the assurance requirement to apply to any contract with DSHS to provide services related to the above populations and programs. If any guidance is released, WSHA will circulate it to members.
Satisfying the assurance requirement. The assurance may be provided through the execution of an agreement between the contractor and any labor organization that represents or seeks to represent the contractor’s employees who perform or will perform the contracted services. Specifically, the assurance may be satisfied by one or more of the following contractual commitments:
- An agreement between the contractor and any exclusive labor organization representing the employees performing the contracted services that contains a provision prohibiting economic or industrial action on the part of all parties and includes a process for the resolution of disputes between them;
- An agreement between the contractor and any labor organization seeking to represent the employees performing the contracted services that includes a provision prohibiting the parties from causing, promoting, or encouraging economic, industrial, or other disruptive activity on the part of the contractor or employees performing services under the contract, and includes a process for resolution of disputes between parties; or
- Any other agreement or binding obligation equivalent to the above agreements.
If services are nonetheless interrupted, DSHS is entitled to terminate, suspend or revoke the contract and may obtain the services elsewhere. In addition, each DSHS contract for the above services must now include a provision providing that DSHS will be reimbursed for its actual costs arising from the “inadequacy of the assurance.”
Prior history of disruptions is now relevant to the award of any contract. DSHS is now required to consider any prior disruptions to services when awarding a contract. DSHS must also consider whether the assurance provided by the contractor has mitigated the risk of recurrence of the disruption (if any).
WSHA’s 2020 New Law Implementation Guide
Please visit WSHA’s 2020 implementation guide online, where you will find a list of the high priority laws that WSHA is preparing resources and information on to help members implement the new laws, as well as links to resources such as this bulletin. In addition, you will find the Government Affairs team’s schedule for release of upcoming resources on other laws and additional resources for implementation.
Background and References