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CA RNs Win Pact for 2,700 Nurses at 6 Tenet Hospitals

Press Release, 3/6/12

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Registered nurses at six Tenet Healthcare hospitals in California have won a tentative settlement on a new four year agreement that protects the health coverage for their families, wins improvements in patient care and nurses standards, and provides for important economic gains, the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United announced today.

The agreement affects 2,700 RNs at Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs, Doctors Medical Center in Modesto, Los Alamitos Medical Center, San Ramon Regional Medical Center, Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center in San Luis Obispo, and Twin Cities Community Hospital in Templeton.

Nurses at those facilities will vote on the proposed agreement in membership meetings this Friday and next Monday.

At a time when most employers are demanding huge reductions in health coverage or big increases in costs to employees for their health plans, nurses hailed their ability to protect existing coverage under which they will continue to pay no out-of-pocket costs for their premiums and no increases in co-pays or deductibles.

"Tenet Nurses are proud to hold up this agreement as an example of what we can accomplish together when we stay united," said Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center RN Sherri Stoddard, chair of the CNA Statewide Tenet RN Council. "We are moving forward as a profession without sacrificing a single protection for our patients or our families."

In several areas, the RNs also won improvements they say will protect patients and nurses, including contract language guaranteeing full compliance with California’s new law, sponsored by CNA, to assure safe patient life practices to reduce patient falls and accidents, and back and other musculoskeletal injuries for nurses.

Nursing surveys have found that 83 percent of RNs work in spite of back pain, 52 percent report chronic back pain, and 12 percent who leave the profession say back injuries were the main, or a major, reason for leaving the RN workforce.

More nurses will also be participating on RN-elected committees that meet with management on addressing patient care and patient safety issues.

"Our new contract will provide us with the tools we need to address patient safety at the bedside and protect ourselves from workplace injury," said Modesto RN Gabriela Sanchez. "I'll be voting yes on Friday."

The tentative pact culminates an arduous negotiation process extending for more than a year. The agreement, which is retroactive to last year, runs through December of 2014. 

Under the new agreement, all RNs will receive 10.5 percent pay increases over the next three years, and an additional 3 percent retroactive pay for 2011.

Tenet RNs also praised contract gains that will assist nurses who wish to volunteer for NNU-sponsored disaster relief programs, protection for RNs with extended illnesses, and improvements in clinical education for RNs.

The California Nurses Association/ National Nurses United, is the nation’s largest U.S. RN professional association and union, representing 170,000 RNs, including some 75,000 California nurses.

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