Monterey County nurses ratify new contract with strong measures to improve patient safety and nurse retention
Registered nurses in Monterey County’s health system in California voted 96 percent in favor of ratifying a new four-year contract yesterday, winning protections to improve patient safety and nurse retention announced California Nurses Association/National Nurses United (CNA/NNU).
This is the very first collective bargaining agreement that the CNA-represented Monterey County RNs have bargained and ratified with their county employer.
“We are very excited because these new pacts set the stage for improving conditions at Monterey County,” said Jennifer Jean Pierre, RN in the ICU unit at Natividad Medical Center. “They address some of our most pressing patient care concerns, such as ensuring safe staffing for the benefit of both patients and nurses, protecting the health and safety of nurses, and recruiting and retaining RNs. This contract will provide vital support in our ongoing patient advocacy efforts.”
Highlights of the contract include:
- Safe staffing provisions: Language to ensure Monterey County adheres to state-mandated nurse-to-patient ratios
- Health and safety provisions: Strong health and safety language about following the precautionary principle regarding infectious disease protocols, which means putting safety first
- Workplace violence protections to ensure that nurses have unit-specific workplace violence prevention plans in place and a nurses committee to implement and monitor these plans’ effectiveness
- Establishment of a Professional Practice Committee, comprising RNs, that will meet with management to address patient care concerns at the unit level.
- Economic gains to retain experienced nurses: 17 percent wage increases across the board over the life of the contract, with improvements to education reimbursement.
The new pact covers the period Sept. 1, 2022 to Aug. 31, 2026.
“This was a long, hard fight, and our unity and faith in our collective strength carried us through,” said Scott Brusaschetti, RN in the emergency unit. “We are thrilled we won a strong union contract that uplifts the quality and safe patient care we deliver to our community.”
The California Nurses Association represents more than 500 nurses at Monterey County health facilities, including Monterey County's only Level II trauma hospital, Natividad Medical Center, Health Department Clinics, and Juvenile Hall health facilities.
The California Nurses Association/National Nurses United is the largest and fastest-growing union and professional association of registered nurses in the nation with 100,000 members in more than 200 facilities throughout California and more than 180,000 RNs nationwide.