St. Joseph RNs Ratify New Contract at Apple Valley, Eureka, and Petaluma
Gains for patient care, healthcare security for nurses
Registered nurses at three St. Joseph Health System (SJHS) medical centers have ratified a new collective bargaining agreement that will strengthen patient care protections and provide affordable healthcare benefits, the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United announced today.
Nurses won improved safe RN-to-patient safe staffing ratio language, successfully fought off substantial increases to their healthcare premiums, and secured removal of a punitive “wellness” program that recent studies have concluded fail to provide promised savings while penalizing employees who may have chronic health problems.
The contracts also provide for the initiation of steps to lower the longstanding economic disparities that exist among RNs at SJHS facilities across California.
Additionally, Petaluma Valley RNs succeeded in backing hospital management off of several key takeaway demands, including on-call pay reductions and reduced night shift differential pay which, if enacted, would have put the facility below community standards for area hospitals, and undermined the retention and recruitment of experienced nurses.
Quotes from RNs:
"At Petaluma, we achieved new local language that will help us ensure that the level of care needed for each individual patient is adhered to and make the hospital safer for nurses and patients,” said Anna Bruno, a surgery RN. “A new statewide committee on staffing will enable us to engage the St. Joseph Health System on staffing and safety issues."
“Eureka nurses ratified our new contract with huge support and we're looking forward to start using new staffing and floating language to advocate for our patients,” said Susan Johnson, an obstetrics RN. “This and our ability to maintain quality the healthcare benefits we won will help us to recruit and retain experienced nurses at our community hospital."
“Our nurses ratified the contract without hesitation,” said Michelle Stuebe, an RN at the hospital and a member of the nurses’ bargaining team. “Bedside nurses gained a stronger voice in maintaining safe nurse-to-patient staffing, which protects our patients and improves the care provided by our members. I, for one, am excited to get started.”
The new contracts, which cover more than 1,100 RNs, expire on May 31, 2016.
CNA/NNU is a growing influence in St. Joseph Health System, an Orange County-based hospital chain, representing some 1,100 St. Joseph RNs at St. Joseph Hospital in Eureka, Petaluma Valley Hospital in Petaluma, and St. Mary Medical Center in Apple Valley, as well as Queen of the Valley Hospital in Napa where RNs voted to join CNA last month.