St. Rose RNs Ratify First Collective Bargaining Contract
Registered nurses at St. Rose Hospital in Hayward have overwhelmingly approved their first collective bargaining agreement, the California Nurses Association, National Nurses United announced today.
The new two-year pact includes gains on economic security, staffing and workplace violence prevention, and also rejects what had been management demands for reductions in the existing standards for nurses. St. Rose RNs ratified the agreement in membership meetings Thursday.
"When we overwhelmingly voted for CNA, we knew it was the best thing for all of us, but winning an excellent first contract is just as powerful,” said Tricia Munoz, Telemetry RN and nurse negotiator.
She noted that St. Rose, which provides care for up to 15 percent of the most indigent residents of Alameda County, would be the only hospital left in Hayward once the nearby Kaiser Hayward vacates the city for its new facility in San Leandro.
“We advocated for patient care and the rights of nurses during this campaign, while taking into consideration St. Rose's unique role in not being tied to a large corporation," Munoz said.
St. Rose was one of the last remaining non-union hospitals for RNs in the Bay Area – until the nurses voted by 91 percent to join CNA in December, 2012. CNA represents 300 RNs at the hospital.
Earlier in 2012, the hospital contracted out management of the facility to Alecto Health which then took an aggressive hard line with the RNs in first contract talks. But through the unity of the RNs, says CNA, which included a vote by the nurses that they were prepared to strike to insist on a fair contract, the RNs won a contract settlement that they say is a huge step forward.
Provisions of the pact include an across the board 4 percent pay increase for all RNs over the two years of the pact, a pay system that includes pay increases tied to years of service at the hospital not arbitrary management whim, and other economic gains, including retirement plan improvements.
Patient safety was a substantial focus of the contract talks. The nurses won language providing for improved RN staffing at the hospital, including an agreement that charge nurses who make clinical assignments will not have additional patient assignments assuring better staffing for patients.
Another key feature was adoption of a workplace violence prevention program. That concurs with growing statewide concern over workplace violence heightened by several prominent incidents, including the recent stabbing of two RNs at Los Angeles hospitals, and shootings around two West Bay hospitals.