Enloe Nurses Cite Gains in Break Relief, Retirement, Compensation in New Contract Agreement
Registered nurses at Enloe Medical Center have approved a new collective bargaining agreement with the Chico hospital that they say will strengthen patient care standards, increase access to their retirement plans, and improve compensation that will help with retention and recruitment of RNs.
The California Nurses Association/National Nurses United represents 700 RNs at Enloe.
“Through the unity of our members, we've been able to beat back takeaways that management proposed and end up with some substantial improvements for nurses and for patient care,” said Enloe RN David Welch.
“It’s another stepping stone in our growth,” said Paula Helmick, RN, a nurse negotiator at Enloe. “Everything we get for our RNs is a positive change. Rome wasn't built in a day and even a small step is progress towards our future.”
One significant gain will improve the ability of RNs to provide quality care. The hospital has agreed that nurses will be able to take meal and rest breaks during a shift with the relief being provided by another RN. That is important to maintain safe staffing at all times and ensure that nurses are not forced to skip breaks to guarantee their patients safety.
Compensation had been a significant sticking point as Enloe RNs have lagged behind other area medical centers that they say undermined retention and recruitment for the community hospital.
Under the new agreement, all RNs will receive pay increases of just under 7 percent over the next 2.5 years, with the first increase retroactive to last January.
Further, long-term RNs with over 25 years of service will earn additional increases, and new nurses who have prior experience at other hospitals will receive service credit for that work, assuring improved pay upon beginning their Enloe career.
Enloe RNs were pleased to win a gain in access to retirement benefits at an earlier age. Those who choose to do so will be able to draw upon their hospital pensions at age 59-1/2 without penalty.
The nurses also won improvements in access to sick leave for themselves, and their ability to care for family members, improvements to provisions regarding continuing education, more credit for previous work history, as well as a variety of other contract improvements.