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California Rideout Nurses to Vote on New Contract on Tuesday

Appeal Democrat, 5/28/13

By Eric Vodden

Registered nurses at Rideout Health Group will vote Tuesday on whether to approve a tentative agreement on a new four-year contract, the association representing the nurses said Friday.

The agreement, if finalized, would provide some 400 registered nurses with a 9 percent across-the-board pay increase over the four years of the agreement with an additional 2 percent for longer term registered nurses.

It would affect nurses who work at Rideout Memorial Hospital in Marysville and Women and Infant Services in Yuba City, along with those at the Rideout Cancer Center.

"Our goal was to have this contract be a positive impact on patient care and help our community retain nurses who may otherwise look to a bigger city for a similar job," said Rideout registered nurse Pat Hicks in a statement.

The California Nurses Association/National Nurses United said the agreement came after "19 often contentious months of bargaining." Negotiations were marred in recent years by strained relations and public demonstrations.

"It's been a long process, but this agreement is fair and builds for the future," Hicks said in the statement. "The contract we negotiated advances our standards, which in turn benefits our patients. We expect to see positive changes in the hospital as a result of it."

Theresa Hamilton, chief executive officer for Rideout, declined Friday to specifically address the tentative agreement prior to Tuesday's vote.

But she thanked nurses on the negotiating committee who "spent many hours at the table."

"We are very pleased that we have been able to reach a tentative agreement," Hamilton said. "We hope our nurses will see it the same way and vote to ratify it."

Along with the pay increase, the agreement includes new language to assure there is adequate staffing coverage so registered nurses are able to take meal and rest breaks, and no increases in health care premiums to nurses through 2014.

It will also give more clout to the nurse's professional performance committee, which meets with management to address patient care concerns, the employees group said.

CONTACT Eric Vodden at 749-4769 or evodden@appeal-democrat.com.

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