Registered Nurses Welcome First Contract at Community Hospital Long Beach
Celebrate Patient Safety, Economic Improvements
Yesterday registered nurses voted to approve their first ever collective bargaining agreement at Community Hospital Long Beach.
At a time when many labor contracts are premised on substantial cuts in workplace and living standards for nurses and other workers, the RNs successfully negotiated an agreement that represents improvements in their existing standards.
Under the agreement, the nurses will elect a team of bedside RNs to meet with management on a regular basis to address patient care issues, including safe staffing and the introduction of new technology. The agreement also contains provisions that improve support for nurses' pursuit of the continuing education in nursing practice that is required by their license.
The agreement also includes the institution of a pay scale that ties pay increases to years of experience not arbitrary management whim, as well as other economic gains, including secure health insurance and retirement benefits.
Nurses will receive an immediate 3-6% wage increase in January and up to 16% over the three-year course of the contract. The improvements in benefits and the new pay scale system will strengthen the hospital's ability to recruit and retain experienced RNs, nurses say.
“One of our primary goals has been to win a fair wage structure that rewards nurses for service so that we can recruit and retain the experienced nurses our patients deserve," said Sherine Cooper, RN, Heart Center. "With this contract we have laid the foundation for a better future."
“From the beginning, this has always been about our ability to provide safe patient care," said Jackie McKay, RN, ICU. "Nurses at Community Hospital Long Beach are thrilled to have a contract that gives nurses a voice in staffing and patient care and improves our ability to advocate for our patients."
"Congratulations to the nurses at Community Hospital Long Beach for standing strong to protect their living and workplace standards for their patients, their colleagues, and their families. We are proud of you," said Zenei Cortez, RN, CNA Co-President.
The 150 nurses at CHLB voted in December 2012 to affiliate with the California Nurses Association, and thus, link arms with their CNA-represented colleagues at Long Beach Memorial Medical Center, which like Community, is also part of the Memorial Care Health System based in Fountain Valley, Ca.
CNA is also a founding member of National Nurses United, the nation’s largest organization of nurses, with 190,000 members across the U.S., and also one of the fastest growing unions in the country. Over the past three years, NNU has won representation elections for more than 14,000 RNs at 39 hospitals in 11 states.