Press Release

Antelope Valley Hospital nurses ratify a new contract with protections to improve patient safety and nurse retention

AVH RN speaks using megaphone in front of sign "AVH Nurses - Union Strong"

Nurses claim victory after an 18-month fight at the center of Covid-19 surge

Registered nurses at Antelope Valley Hospital in Lancaster, Calif. voted overwhelmingly in favor of ratifying a new three-year contract, winning protections to improve patient safety and nurse retention, the California Nurses Association (CNA) announced today. The tentative agreement ratified by the nurses on May 27, 2021 was the result of an 18-month long fight, protracted by the Covid-19 pandemic and late-2020 surge. 

“For more than a year, Antelope Valley nurses have not once taken a break in our ongoing advocacy for safe staffing, health and safety protections, and nurse retention tools, all while we were battling the deadliest pandemic in our lifetimes,” said Ruth Godde, ICU RN and member of the bargaining team. “Our goal was always to create a safer hospital for our patients and our community by retaining experienced RN patient advocates. In our fights for personal protective equipment, resource nurses on all floors, workplace violence protections, preserving our state-mandated safe-staffing ratios, and proper health and safety protocols, our priority has always been our community.”

The hospital is an entity of the Antelope Valley Healthcare District, a public sector hospital, serving and caring for the Antelope Vally community in northern Los Angeles County. The district serves a geographic area equal to the size of Delaware, and the Level II Trauma Center is one of the busiest in the state of California. Antelope Valley RNs were at the center of the Covid-19 surge in late 2020, caring for more than 1,600 admitted Covid patients.

Highlights of the contract include:

  1. Patient care protections, including staffing resources for each floor, improvements to the RN professional practice committee (PPC), and patient transport protocols.
  2. Health and safety provisions, including ongoing access to Covid testing for nurses upon request, a workplace violence protection plan and monitoring committee, and RN input in the infectious diseases committee for the first time.
  3. Economic gains and education and professional advancement benefits to help retain and recruit experienced nurses. The contract contains annual across-the-board and step increases and additional opportunities for educational and professional advancement.
  4. Maintains standards and benefits of the previous contract, with no takeaways.

“This contract contains many new retention tools that will be key in limiting turnover and improving recruitment and retention of experienced RNs,” said Erick Fernandez, an RN in the ER and member of the bargaining team. “With these improvements, we hope to improve our hospital for the long-term benefit of the Antelope Valley community. We will continue to engage nurses in campaigns that aim to improve our delivery of safe patient care.”

CNA represents nearly 1,000 nurses at Antelope Valley Hospital.