Nurses Reach Agreement with Sutter California Pacific
RNs Hail Community Support, Decision to Keep St. Luke’s Open
Registered nurses at two San Francisco Sutter hospitals, California Pacific Medical Center and St. Luke’s Hospital, have, at long last, reached agreement with hospital officials on a new collective bargaining contract for the 800 RNs who work at the two facilities, the California Nurses Association said today.
The agreement expands patient protections, strengthens the nurses’ bargaining and job security rights, and provides for economic gains. It must still be ratified by CPMC and St. Luke’s nurses who will vote on the pact in membership meetings soon.
The RNs emphasized that they are especially pleased with the overall political and community framework, announced earlier this month, that preserves St. Luke’s after years of uncertainly and threats of closure for the historic hospital that serves a medically underserved community in San Francisco.
CNA Executive Director RoseAnn DeMoro praised the unity of the nurses over the long contract fight and the broad public support for nurses as critical to protecting St. Luke’s and winning a new agreement for the nurses.
“San Francisco nurses have worked extremely hard, with the widespread support of a very broad community coalition and the support of a number of community leaders, including members of the Board of Supervisors, to protect this vital community resource. We are proud of the efforts of everyone who has held the line for maintaining St. Luke’s,” DeMoro said.
For the first time, the RNs at both hospitals will be under one contract with equal job security and seniority rights. The pact includes safe patient handling provisions to stem patient falls and injuries to patients and nurses. Additionally it obligates the employer to provide for meal and rest breaks and stipulates that new technology not supplant RN professional judgment.
On economics, all the RNs will receive across the board pay increases of 6 percent over the next 34 months, as well as additional pay based on years of service in the San Francisco hospitals, at other Sutter facilities, and foreign nursing experience.
"We are delighted to finally reach a contract settlement with Sutter/CPMC,” said California Pacific campus RN Susan Blaschak RN. “Our contract provides for continued patient advocacy and will keep our professional nursing standards high for years to come.”
"The process has been tumultuous but in the end we had a vision and we were successful in performing the ultimate in patient advocacy - saving St Luke's,” said Jane Sandoval, a St. Luke’s RN and CNA board member. “In addition, with our collective bargaining agreement we have preserved patient care standards, having a voice in that and in our professional integrity."
“Working with a coalition of labor and community groups, we have been successful in changing the face of healthcare for San Francisco's future. St Luke's will not only remain open it will offer more healthcare services to residents in the community south of Market," said Eileen Prendiville RN at the California Pacific campus of CPMC.
“Our contract settlement was also made possible by the strong support for the nurses by San Franciscans for Healthcare, Housing, Jobs and Justice as well as elected leaders who knew San Franciscans overall would be best served by a fair collective bargaining agreement,” said Sandoval.
CNA also calls on Sutter officials in its headquarters in Sacramento, and other Sutter regions to view the San Francisco agreement as a new opportunity to resolve outstanding contract fights with RNs in the East Bay and North Bay.
Nurses have now reached agreement with CNA-represented Sutter hospitals in the past nine months at Mills-Peninsula in Burlingame and San Mateo, Sutter Santa Rosa, Sutter Lakeside in Lakeport, and Sutter VNA in Santa Cruz, as well as California Pacific hospitals.
Contracts remain unresolved at Alta Bates Summit in Berkeley and Oakland, Eden in Castro Valley and San Leandro, Sutter Delta in Antioch, Sutter Solano in Vallejo, and Sutter Novato.
“Every one of those disputes could also be resolved if those hospital’s officials would approach negotiations with a desire to stop the war on their nurses, remove unwarranted and punitive concessions demands, and show the community served by their hospitals that they desire a cooperative relationship with nurses based on therapeutic healing for their patients,” said Sandoval.