MountainView Hospital RNs approve new contract with HCA they say will improve patient care protections
Registered nurses at MountainView Hospital in Las Vegas have overwhelmingly approved a new collective bargaining contract with HCA that includes important new provisions for infectious disease control protections, announced National Nurses Organizing Committee/National Nurses United (NNOC/NNU) today.
“We are pleased to have achieved additional health and safety protections that we have been pressing for from HCA management,” said MountainView RN Nicole Taylor, a member of the nurses’ negotiating team. “These protections are essential to ensure safer conditions at our hospital.”
The three-year agreement covers 960 registered nurses at the hospital.
With the latest surge of the Covid pandemic that continues to put patients and nurses in danger, “the combination of critical health and safety improvements and economic gains and protections will help us keep our experienced RNs at the bedside and help in recruiting new nurses,” said MountainView RN Brenda Saravia.
At the heart of the pact, all patients suspected of being infected with Covid-19 will be treated the same as confirmed Covid-positive patients, which means nurses will be provided with the same level of protection for both suspected and confirmed cases. This includes access to single-use optimal personal protective equipment (PPE) for every encounter with a suspected or confirmed patient. With the much higher level of transmission associated with the Delta variant, these are significant safety precautions to reduce the spread of the virus in the hospital.
Additionally, the employer will ensure free Covid-19 tests will be available after exposure, unit department managers will be held accountable to address safety concerns raised by the nurses’ patient care committees; the hospital’s chief nursing officer will meet with the committees to evaluate the need for more resource nurses; and there will be enhanced protections for intra-unit transfers. The contract also provides for bargaining on the effects of novel infectious diseases.
Increased economic security for RNs
The new contract also provides increased economic security for the RNs. Nurses will receive wage increases of up to 19 percent over the term of the contract, plus increases for nurses who work weekends or when critical additional staffing is needed, and protection on health care coverage and subsidized dental care benefits for nurses and their families.
Other contract provisions include:
- New RN committees to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion on race, gender, age, and sexual orientation in hospital recruitment, retention, promotion, and training. These committees will also address issues of structural racism in the nursing profession and barriers to practice and ensuring a nursing workforce that is reflective of the community.
- An improved ability to bring a nurse representative to report harassment and discrimination and agreement that concerns will be promptly addressed.
- Enhanced meal and break relief language.
- Improvements in how the hospital provides compensation when nurses pick up extra shifts to assist with staffing needs.
- Paid time off to vote in elections.
- Commitment to provide training for preceptors who mentor and train new RNs and relief charge nurses.
The agreement follows new contracts achieved in recent weeks for RNs at HCA hospitals in Florida, the Kansas City area, North Carolina, Texas, and a mid-term contract adjustment at California HCA hospitals.
NNOC/NNU represents 12,000 HCA RNs at 20 HCA hospitals from Florida to California. Overall, NNU represents more than 175,000 RNs nationwide.