Registered nurses at San Francisco’s Chinese Hospital reach tentative agreement on first union contract
Registered nurses at Chinese Hospital in San Francisco are proud to have reached a tentative agreement on their first union contract, the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United (CNA/NNU) announced today.
The three-year agreement, with strong protections for patients and nurses, follows Chinese Hospital RNs voting to join CNA/NNU in August of 2019, and a strike for safe patient care in May of this year. Nurses say they stood strong to win this incredible contract and know it will benefit the community for years to come.
“We are absolutely thrilled to have reached this agreement, and we know that it will help us recruit and retain experienced nurses, especially the bilingual nurses who are so critical for our patient population,” said Sherry Yee, medical/surgical RN. “Chinese Hospital nurses stayed the course in our contract fight, and we are really proud to have won so many important protections that will help us provide the safe patient care people in our community deserve.”
Contract highlights include:
Economic gains to recruit and retain experienced nurses: The contract includes wage increases of at least 10% over three years, and placement on a wage scale that guarantees annual raises and tenure step increases. RNs also received ratification bonuses. Nurses say the economic benefits will help ensure experienced nurses stay at Chinese Hospital to care for patients in the community.
Nurse-run committees to strengthen advocacy for patients and to address staffing, workplace safety, and other issues impacting safe patient care conditions.
Improved paid time off (PTO) access: Chinese Hospital nurses sacrificed during the pandemic, and many didn’t take or delayed vacation, which will improve going forward. Under the new contract, nurses will have greater flexibility to care for loved ones who may be out of work or school.
Firm limits on health care premium contributions: Nurses have been there to care for patients every day of this pandemic, and they deserve care in return. The new contract provides for free health care in 2022, and sets firm limits on health care premium contributions moving ahead.
Job security and a grievance process: Chinese Hospital can no longer discipline RNs without meeting the just cause standard. RNs will now have an enforcement process for disputing violations of the contract and unjust disciplines. Additionally, Chinese Hospital will have to provide notice of any operational changes.
Opportunities for advancement: Entry level nurses will advance to Staff Nurse 2 according to area standards without unnecessary delays.
Nurses say these highlights and other important contract features will have a long-lasting positive impact on the community.
“Safe staffing is crucial for safe patient care, and this agreement helps us attract and keep longtime, experienced nurses. We couldn’t be more excited and proud to have won our very first union contract, and we know it will make a huge difference to have strong patient and nurse protections in writing,” said surgery and recovery registered nurse Alson Toy.