Shasta Regional Medical Center Nurses Reach a Tentative Contract Agreement
Registered nurses at Shasta Regional Medical Center (SRMC) in Redding, California have won a tentative three-year agreement, which adds new patient care protections and allows nurses more power to advocate for patient safety.
This is the first collective bargaining contract the nurses have won since joining the California Nurses Association (CNA) in September of last year. The proposed pact, secured late last week will now go before 350 registered nurses for a ratification vote on Thursday, May 24 and Friday, May 25.
“We are so pleased to have reached an agreement that addresses the critical staffing issues and workplace safety issues,” said RN Trish Weaver, a member of the negotiating team. “This contract will be a huge benefit for patients and our community.”
Nurses say the tentative contract goes a long way to address the issues of recruitment and retention of experienced nurses at SRMC.
“It's a great feeling being able to stand up for our patients and for ourselves; I am thankful that I was able to take part in these negotiations,” said RN Michelle Gaffney, negotiating team member and progressive care unit nurse. “It has been a very rewarding experience getting to know my coworkers better through this fight and being able together to push to make the needed changes necessary for SRMC to be a place people are proud to work at and patients feel safe coming to for help. “
Key contract provisions include:
- Creation of a Professional Practice Committee (PPC) with the authority to document unsafe practice issues and the power to make real changes. The PPC is a committee of elected nurses from every department in the hospital that meets with hospital administration on a regular schedule to discuss issues of concern to nursing staff and patients, such as broken or unsafe equipment, and unsafe staffing levels.
- Economic Gains to Help Retain Experienced Nurses. Nurses at Shasta Regional have not received raises in years and were not part of a collective bargaining unit prior to this tentative contract. Wages at the medical center are far below those at nearby hospitals, where nurses work under CNA contracts. The new tentative agreement will boost recruitment of new hires by raising starting rates between 19 percent and 38 percent over the life of the contract depending on experience. The average wage increases for currently employed nurses will be 26 percent over 3 years.
“It is of the utmost importance that Shasta be able to recruit and retain the best nurses so we can provide optimal care for our patients,” said RN Stacey Kelly, a member of the negotiating team. “These wage increases, coupled with the protections needed to be a fierce advocate for our patients will go a long way in making us attractive to nurses and to keeping experienced nurses by the bedside.”
- Improved union and workplace rights for nurses, including a strengthened grievance procedure for disputes.
- Educational opportunities for nurses. For the first time, nurses at SRMC will get paid hours to take continuing education classes. This additional training will help nurses as they advocate for their patients.
Last month, healthcare workers at SRMC also voted overwhelmingly to join Caregivers and Healthcare Employees Union (CHEU) an affiliate of the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United (CNA/NNU).
“It is great to see the advances that the RNs are making that will benefit our patients,” said Taylor New, a nurses aide. “We are all in a better place to provide safe care for the community now that we have union protections.”
California Nurses Association represents some 100,000 RNs in California, part of 150,000 RNs represented nationwide by National Nurses United.