Press Release

San Bernardino County Nurses Ratify a New Contract with Protections to Improve Patient Safety and Nurse Retention

Nurses hold signs "Save Lives" and variations "Hands Off Our Ratios" "Safe Staffing Now" "PPE Now"

Nurses claim victory after a six-month fight at the center of Covid-19 surge

Registered nurses in San Bernardino County, Calif. who work at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center, the Department of Public Health, the Department of Behavioral Health, the Sheriff’s Department, the Probation Department, and other county facilities, voted overwhelmingly in favor of ratifying a new three-year contract, winning protections to improve patient safety and nurse retention, the California Nurses Association (CNA) announced today. The agreement, ratified by the nurses on July 3, 2021, was the result of a six-month-long fight.

“Our new agreement with the county contains many new retention tools that will be key in limiting turnover and improving recruitment and retention of experienced RNs,” said Barbara Ginn, a registered nurse at the Sheriff’s Department and member of the bargaining team. “With these gains, we seek to improve our hospital and clinics for the long-term benefit of the San Bernardino community. We will continue to engage nurses in campaigns that aim to improve our delivery of safe patient care.”

Contract highlights include:

  • Patient care protections, including a nursing process to ensure safe RN ratios and safe patient handling standards.
  • Health and safety provisions, including a workplace violence prevention plan that incorporates in-person training for all registered nurses and enhanced meal and rest break standards to ensure safe patient care.
  • Economic gains that recognize years of experience and education and professional advancement benefits to help retain and recruit experienced nurses. The contract contains annual across-the-board, expedited/additional step increases, and equity adjustments.

“Throughout the pandemic, nurses have confronted hospital management about the unsafe staffing at San Bernardino County," said Leslie Oyes, a registered nurse in the burn unit and a member of the bargaining team. "This new contract helps address some of those concerns because our community deserves safe patient care.”

The California Nurses Association represents approximately 1,500 RNs who work for San Bernardino County and has 100,000 members throughout the state. CNA is affiliated with National Nurses United, the largest and fastest growing union of registered nurses in the U.S. with more than 175,000 members nationwide. CNA/NNU plays a leadership role in safeguarding the health and safety of RNs and their patients and has won landmark legislation in the areas of staffing, safe patient handling, infectious disease, and workplace violence prevention.