RNs Win Historic New Pact at Sutter Lakeside Hospital
Shows Way to End Broader Dispute When Sutter Executives Withdraw Demands for Onerous Concession Demands
Registered nurses at Sutter Lakeside Hospital in Lakeport have reached a tentative agreement with hospital officials on a new collective bargaining contract that nurses say is the latest signal to Sutter Health corporate executives that an end to the broader dispute between nurses and the hospital chain can be achieved.
Major elements of the agreement are significant new patient care protections that are critical to the RNs’ ability to provide safe care and include safe patient handling/lift policies, enhanced autonomy of charge RNs to utilize independent professional judgment in accepting patient assignments, including meal and break coverage, and workplace violence protections.
The California Nurses Association/National Nurses United represents 120 RNs at the Lake County hospital. The contract must still be ratified by Lakeside RNs, which is expected to occur early next week. The agreement also averts a strike scheduled for Lakeside next Wednesday. A strike at other Bay Area Sutter hospitals remains on track.
“The tentative agreement we reached last night for a new contract is a major victory for both nurses and patients of Lake County,” said Carrie Roth, a medical surgical RN at the hospital and a member of the CNA nurse bargaining team. “Our new contract enhances our ability to provide our patients with the care they deserve.”
The key to the pact, achieved between Lakeside RNs and managers Wednesday night, was the decision by hospital officials to withdraw all concession proposals. That provides a significant contrast with other Sutter Bay Area hospitals where corporate executives are demanding more than 100 sweeping concessions that would erode patient care conditions and RN standards.
Lakeside also continues a recent pattern of some Sutter hospitals that have decided to step back in demanding onerous reductions in contract standards. Earlier this year officials at Sutter Santa Rosa also reached agreement with CNA on a new agreement after that hospital cancelled concession demands. Last year CNA also won new contracts at two Sutter hospitals in the Sacramento region in Roseville and Auburn.
Additional Highlights include:
• Enhanced daily cancellation language that considers the severity of patients’ illnesses, and new admissions, prior to cancelling RNs from their shift.
• Improved just cause/ disciplinary action language/ protection for RNs.
• New language that allows Charge Nurses to carry out their patient advocacy roles with full union protections.
• Improved leave of absence policies, including: medical, family care, military, and professional leaves.
• New language regarding protections and policies related to workplace violence prevention
• Lay-off and severance protection and compensation.
• Modest wage improvements, including a new pay scale with additional pay steps with a new 20 year longevity step.