New Pact for Mount Diablo Hospital RNs
California Nurses Association Press Release, 9/20/13
Preserved healthcare for nurses, improved patient care protections
Registered Nurses who work at John Muir Mount Diablo Hospital in Concord have reached a tentative agreement on a new three-year contract that nurses say will provide for additional patient care improvements as well as securing nurses’ health coverage.
The settlement, reached Wednesday, covers more than 700 RNs who are members of the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United. The settlement will go before RNs for ratification in membership meetings scheduled for October 1.
Mt. Diablo Medical Center is run by John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek which has a joint venture partnership with Tenet Healthcare Corporation that also covers Tenet’s San Ramon Medical Center.
The CNA nurse bargaining team won new language that ensures safe nurse-to patient staffing at all times, and strengthens safe ‘floating’ policies, which ensures that nurses aren’t assigned outside their area of clinical expertise.
Additionally, the RNs succeeded in securing their healthcare coverage. The hospital had sought to eliminate a provision that waives the employee and dependent contributions to healthcare premiums for RNs who are the major wage earner in their family. They also maintained existing health plan options, including one with full employer-paid coverage, and another with only small premium payments for the RNs.
“We are very proud of winning an agreement that improves the standards of patient care and working conditions for Nurses,” said Mt. Diablo RN Candace Francisco-Goto.
“Because of the unity amongst RNs, we were able to fight off the attack on our healthcare benefits,” said Raymond Prior, RN. “We sent a clear message to management that nurses must have fair and equal access to healthcare in order to provide safe patient care.”
All RNs will earn a 7 percent across the board pay increase over the three years of the agreement with an additional one-time $500 to pay for continuing education that is required by law to maintain their licenses.
Additional patient care protections include an improved process to maintain adequate RN staffing by curtailing cancellations when there is a low patient census or a temporary unit closure. The RNs emphasized that it is important to maintain a core number of RNs on each nursing unit since the number of patients on a unit fluctuates continually throughout each shift,
Additionally RNs were successful in fighting back a large number of takeaways and attacks on current RN standards including:
- A Wellness Program that punishes RNs with certain chronic conditions or what is deemed as “unhealthy” habits with higher out-of-pocket costs for health coverage.
- A closed prescription drug formulary that in some cases covered less than Medicare and did not even include some of the most common drugs used to treat diabetes.
- Fought off managements attempt to remove a contract provision which ensures collective bargaining rights for all direct care RNs, including those who make clinical assignments.