Hi-Desert Medical Center Nurses Ratify Contract
Registered nurses at Hi-Desert Medical Center in Joshua Tree are celebrating the overwhelming vote to approve their first contract with the California Nurses Association (CNA).
The pact, covering 105 registered nurses at the hospital, features patient care and wage and benefit improvements through 2021 and brings the nurses under the umbrella of a statewide contract between CNA and the hospital’s parent company, Tenet Healthcare.
“Nurses know that when we stand up together, using our collective voice, that is the most powerful way to advocate for our patients’ health and safety, and for the working conditions that allow us to provide quality care,” said medical/surgical RN Michelle DeLuna. “We are so proud to have used our collective voice to achieve this first contract, with protections that will benefit Hi-Desert patients for years to come.”
Contract highlights include the implementation of a Professional Practice Committee, (PPC), a feature of many CNA contracts that focuses on patient advocacy and quality patient care, and a Recruitment and Retention Committee selected by the nurses that will meet monthly to recommend ways to improve RN retention and promote continuity of care.
“We are so thrilled to know that, with this contract, RNs will be able to better address patient care and nurse retention issues,” said subacute unit RN Sonja Gerding. “This contract really supports nurses’ ability to have input on what matters most to our patients and to our colleagues.”
Joining the master contract also successfully brings Hi-Desert Medical Center nurses up to the wage and benefit standards of other CNA-represented Tenet hospitals, and provides patient care provisions equal to those negotiated in other CNA agreements.
The CNA/Tenet California master agreement covers approximately 3500 nurses at seven Tenet hospitals throughout California. The agreement expires at the end of this year. Nurses look forward to joining their colleagues from across the state at the table when negotiations begin again.
Contract highlights include:
- Professional Practice Committee – A committee of nurses elected by their coworkers that meets monthly to discuss staffing and other nursing issues. Management will meet with the committee upon request, and respond to recommendations.
- Wage grid with guaranteed wage increases – Raising wages of Hi-Desert RNs an average of a 12% to help with RN recruitment and retention.
- Retirement – The agreement provides up to 2% in additional retirement contributions for nurses.
- Health Insurance – A fully employer-paid PPO plan (“the free plan”) covering nurses and their families will be maintained without increases to co-pays, deductibles, or out of pocket maximums.
- Paid Education Leave – Nurses will receive up to 18 hours of additional paid time off to attend continuing education classes of their choice.
- Job Security – If the hospital is sold, the buyer must hire substantially all nurses and the contract will continue to apply after the sale
“Our nurses stood strong together to win this first contract, and we know the protections in it will strengthen our ability to provide the quality care Hi-Desert patients deserve,” said emergency room RN Jorge Miranda. “This is a big day and a big win—for the whole community.”
The California Nurses Association has 100,000 members statewide and is affiliated with National Nurses United, the largest and fastest growing union of RNs in the nation. CNA/NNU has won landmark health and safety protections for nurses and patients in the areas of staffing, safe patient handling, infectious disease and workplace violence protection.