Tentative Pact Ends Long Contract Fight at USC Medical
For Immediate Release
May 27, 2011
Center with Major Gains for Patients and Registered Nurses
Registered nurses at University of Southern California University Hospital and USC Cancer Norris Center in Los Angeles early Friday morning reached tentative agreement with hospital officials on a new three-year contract agreement.
The pact, covering some 700 RNs, wraps up a long contract dispute between the nurses, who are represented by the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United and the hospital administration.
USC RNs must still approve the agreement in meetings to be held Tuesday and Wednesday, but nurse negotiators are praising and recommending the pact which they say addresses major concerns the RNs have long had regarding key patient care concerns, as well as providing economic improvements for the nurses.
“This agreement will greatly improve our ability to assure safe staffing at all times, which is so critical for quality patient care,” said Frances McKeever, an intensive care RN at USC.
Other provisions in the pact will “go a long way to promote retention at our hospital to keep experienced nurses at the bedside,” McKeever said. “We are very happy with this agreement.”
One key provision provides for guaranteed resource RNs to provide patient care so that regularly scheduled RNs are able to take needed meal and rest breaks, and to provide coverage when nurses take patients to special procedures. This is a critical issue for nurses, as it has been at other California hospitals, to ensure that there is safe staffing for patients at all times.
Other central components of the tentative pact include:
· Improved healthcare coverage for the RNs with no increase in out-of-pocket costs.
· Pay increases of at least 4 percent each year for all RNs, plus additional compensation for long-term RNs and nurses who train new hires—all RN key retention measures.
· Improved employer retirement plan contributions.
· Free tuition for RNs and their dependents who enroll in degree programs at USC.