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Petaluma hospital nurses OK labor contract

Santa Rosa Press Democrat, 6/19/13

By MARTIN ESPINOZA

Nurses at Petaluma Valley Hospital represented by the California Nurses Association have approved a labor agreement with St. Joseph Health, which runs the hospital, the union said.

The deal gives nurses pay raises of 2 percent a year for three years but also reduces their stand-by pay, a St. Joseph's official said.

The CNA represents about about 170 nurses at Petaluma Valley Hospital. The union contract also was approved by more than 900 union nurses at two other St. Joseph hospitals, St. Joseph Hospital in Eureka and St. Mary Medical Center in Apple Valley.

“At Petaluma, we achieved new local language that will help us ensure that the level of care needed for each individual patient is adhered to and make the hospital safer for nurses and patients,” Anna Bruno, a surgery RN who was part of the union's negotiating team, said in a statement.

Debra Miller, vice president of human resources for St. Joseph Health in Sonoma County, said the union notified her Tuesday that the contract had been approved.

“We're very pleased that CNA and the hospital were able to collaboratively resolve their labor dispute and we're looking forward to working together over the course of this three year contract,” Miller said.

The contract expires in June 2016.

Nurses currently get 50 percent of their regular hourly wage when they're on standby status. The hospital sought to reduce that pay to 30 percent of the regular wage, but ultimately agreed to switch to a flat rate for on-call status: $28 and hour the first year and $26.50 in the ensuing two years.

“That does represent a savings to the hospital,” said Miller.

Nurses also agreed to increase their contributions to the health insurance plans.

Miller also said that members of Local 39 Operating Engineers had ratified their new agreement with St. Joseph. Local 39 represents building equipment workers at Memorial Hospital in Santa Rosa and Petaluma Valley hospitals.

Miller said she hopes the agreement with CNA will “help resolve” the ongoing dispute with nurses at Memorial Hospital.

 

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