Dignity Health RNs Vote Overwhelmingly to Ratify New Pact
Major Agreement Covers 12,000 California, Nevada RNs
In nearly 30 membership meetings the past six days across California and Nevada, registered nurses have overwhelmingly approved a new four year collective bargaining covering 12,000 RNs at 28 hospitals in one of the nation’s largest hospital systems. The nurses are members of the California Nurses Association and National Nurses Organizing Committee-Nevada, both part of National Nurses United, the nation’s largest organization of RNs.
RNs welcomed the agreement which they said provides a significant break from a concessionary spiral increasingly common among employers in healthcare and other sectors.
“As nurse leaders we were proud to recommend the agreement to our members. We were not disappointed, the RNs overwhelmingly endorsed the agreement with great enthusiasm,” said Mercy General Sacramento RN Cathy Dennis.
Key features of the agreement include At its center, the agreement guarantees no reduction in health coverage, expands guaranteed pensions and retiree health benefits, and establishes a dramatic new “RN Accident Prevention Program” program that NNU says is the first in the nation by a major hospital system that provides unprecedented supplemental insurance protection for nurses injured in workplace violence or by needle stick accidents.
“At a time when nurses and other American workers are facing an all out employer assault on health coverage, retirement security, wages and workplace rights, and RNs are struggling to maintain their ability to be effective advocates for patient protections, this agreement is a seminal achievement that should resonate throughout the healthcare industry,” said NNU executive director RoseAnn DeMoro in late August after the agreement was announced.
Dignity RNs voting at St. Mary’s Medical Center San Francisco (l) and Glendale Memorial (r)
RNs at St. Rose Dominican, Las Vegas (l) and Marian Regional Medical Center, Santa Maria (r)
RNs counting votes at Mercy General, Sacramento (l) and at St. Mary, Long Beach (r)
- The RN Accident Prevention Program commits the hospitals to adopt meaningful violence prevention policies and threat detection, assessment and management, prompt investigation and zero tolerance of any reported incidents, and ensure safe staffing on all units on all shifts, which are all key for safe workplace settings.
- Further, the policy is backed up with a financial commitment – providing RNs with supplemental insurance benefits of up to $200,000 in the event of accidental death, felonious assault, contraction of HIV or hepatitis from needle sticks, as well as other indemnity benefits and trauma counseling.
- While companies like Sutter are demanding more than 100 reductions in contract standards and patient protections, the Dignity pact secures the health, dental and vision plans, and actually expands both the defined benefit, guaranteed pension coverage by offering it to more RNs, as well as strengthening Dignity’s retiree health coverage.
- Over the four years of the agreement, RNs will receive additional pay hikes of 9 percent, on top of a 2 or 3 percent pay increase (depending on location) earlier this year that is already in effect.
- All the hospitals, including the Las Vegas St. Rose Dominican facilities, will now be a part of one master unit, with local bargaining maintained for individual facilities, with a system-wide RN bargaining council to work to further assure quality patient care and RN standards in all Dignity hospitals.