Antelope Valley RNs Announce Tentative Hospital Pact Cite No Concessions Plus Patient Care, Economic
The tentative agreement, achieved late Friday, must still be ratified by AVH nurses who will vote on the proposal within the coming week. But nurse negotiators today were hailing the settlement. CNA represents some 900 RNs at the hospital.
"It's essential to have a contract that will continue to protect the nurses rights as well as allowing us to provide the best patient care we can," said AVH RN Jessie Thompson.
Through 10 months of negotiations, hospital officials had pushed for contract reductions in health coverage and other contract protections, but nurses say their unity and community support were critical in encouraging the hospital to drop the demands and agree to needed improvements.
"We could have accepted takeaways and settled as soon as management got tough but we stood strong and united winning better results for our families , our patients and our self respect," said Ann Gormont, RN.
On patient care, the settlement adds state’s law on minimum nurse-to-patient ratios to the contract, giving it increased legal clout. It also provides stronger language, implementing a new state law, on safe patient handing such as lift teams to reduce patient falls and accidents and nurse injuries, as well as stepped up restrictions on assigning RNs to work in clinical areas for which they have limited expertise and orientation.
The pact protects existing health coverage as well as reversing increased out of pocket health co-pays illegally implemented in January, 2013. Additionally the nurses were able to maintain their current guaranteed pension plan, and retiree health coverage at a time many hospitals are demanding huge cuts in pensions and health coverage generally.
Finally, the agreement provides for a 3 percent across the board pay increase over three years, retroactive to July, plus additional pay raises based on years of service to the hospital and other economic gains.
In a message to her Antelope Valley colleagues, AVH RN Dani Demyen concluded, "Your CNA bargaining team worked very hard to keep your contract intact, protect your practice as a Registered Nurse and most important protect the language that protects patient care."