Ventura County nurses and health care professionals ratify historic 5-year contract with strong measures to improve patient safety, recruitment, and retention
Agreement includes workplace protections and historic economic gains
Registered nurses and health care professionals who work for the Ventura County Health System in California today voted overwhelmingly in favor of ratifying a new 5-year contract winning protections to improve patient safety and staff retention along with pension enhancement and a competitive benefit package, announced California Nurses Association/National Nurses United (CNA/NNU).
“We are so pleased that the nurses and the health care workers stood strong and united to win this important contract that will help us attract and retain experienced health care professionals who are committed to our community,” said Gina Parcon, an ICU nurse at Santa Paula Hospital. “As someone who grew up with activist parents and the leaders of the UFW, I am so proud to see the power of our union triumph. It was very important for us to bring our message to the public and to County leaders, and to be heard. We feel hopeful this contract will provide a path to increased resources to better serve our patients. This victory shows that when we fight, we win, and we win for our patients and our community.”
Highlights of the contract include: health and safety enhancements, workplace violence protections, staffing improvements, wage increases, improved benefits, and cost of living increases for pensions.
- Health and safety provisions to ensure nurses and healthcare professionals get the highest level of personal protective equipment, and improved protection from infectious disease and hazardous substances.
- Comprehensive language to create a safer work environment for nurses and health care professionals, including improved language to enhance workplace violence protection, discrimination and sexual harassment prevention.
- Enhanced union rights, to provide a stronger voice for nurses and healthcare professionals to advocate for their professional standards, working conditions and to collectively advocate for their patients and community.
- New diversity, equity, and inclusion language, including a joint statement with CNA and Ventura County declaring racism a public health crisis.
- Historic economic gains and pension benefits to help retain and recruit experienced nurses and healthcare professionals, including up to 30 percent increases across-the-board over the life of the agreement for most bargaining unit members, and a newly instituted cost-of-living annual increase of 2 percent for pensions.
“The pension cost-of-living increase is a true game changer when it comes to attracting and retaining nurses and health care workers,” said Susana Macias Robles, a registered nurse in the medical-surgical unit at Ventura County Medical Center. “Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, we have worked under the most difficult conditions imaginable. Winning this pension enhancement in our union contract will provide our members with a greater ability to retire with dignity after a career of providing care for our community. This is a historic moment to celebrate for our union and a well-deserved benefit for our current and future members.”
“The economic gains we won in this contract will go a long way in affording nurses and other health care workers an opportunity to maintain a work/life balance,” said Katie Dornbos, a registered nurse in the neonatal unit at Ventura County Medical Center. “As the primary breadwinner in my family, I, like many of my coworkers, had to take an extra job on top of my full time position as a NICU nurse. With these economic gains, Ventura County nurses and health care professionals will have more options and I anticipate less exhaustion, which will allow us to provide the highest quality of care possible to our patients.”
The new pact covers the period April 25, 2023 to April 24, 2028.
CNA represents more than 700 registered nurses and health care professionals including RNs, nurse practitioners, physicians assistants, psych techs, and licensed vocational nurses who work at two hospitals and 13 clinics across the Ventura County Health System.
California Nurses Association/National Nurses United is the largest and fastest-growing union and professional association of registered nurses in the nation with 100,000 members in more than 200 facilities throughout California and nearly 225,000 RNs nationwide.