Nurses at Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital Overwhelmingly Ratify New Contract
Registered nurses at Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital (SVMH) in Salinas overwhelmingly ratified a new five-year contract, announced California Nurses Association (CNA) today. The agreement is the result of a bargaining campaign that included a march on the SVMH Board of Directors meeting.
“As a public hospital in the Salinas Valley, the patients we serve often come in with severe illnesses,” said Sandra Martinez, an ICU RN at SVMH and member of the bargaining team. “Our patients rely on nurses to take good care of them so they can return back to their lives. I am proud to say that the contract agreement we have achieved will ensure that competent nurses live and work in this community and help our patients heal.”
Highlights of the contract include:
- Protections against unsafe floating. Floating is a management practice where nurses are reassigned to units of the hospital where they do not normally work. The contract includes language that establishes floating procedures and prevents nurses from being assigned to units for which they have not established expertise or competency.
- Provisions for safe patient handling and safe staffing. The new agreement includes important provisions that support patient care and RN working conditions, such as language ensuring that nurses are not working excessive hours and that the birthing center is adequately staffed.
- Educational development and learning. The new contract includes increased opportunities for education so nurses can continue expanding their knowledge and skills as well as ensuring that management creates a culture of learning in the hospital.
- Economic gains to help retain and recruit experienced nurses. The new agreement includes an 11.25 percent wage increase over five years.
“This agreement has helped us ensure that the nurses who work at our hospital continue to broaden their skills and knowledge so we can take good care of our patients,” said Tracy Chavez, a ICU nurse at SVMH and member of the bargaining team. “Nursing practices continue to evolve at a rapid rate and the agreement we achieved will allow us to keep up with the additional skills required to care for patients. This contract agreement benefits our nurses and our patients.”
To interview a nurse about the new contract, contact Teresa Mack, 510-289-3291 or Chuleenan Svetvilas, 510-631-5337.
CNA represents approximately 700 nurses at Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital.