Press Release

Ventura County per diem registered nurses, health care professionals ratify five-year contract

Four nurses standing outside, one holds sign "CNA Ventura County health care proffessionals united for our patients"

Ventura County Health System’s per diem registered nurses and health care professionals voted overwhelmingly in favor of ratifying a five-year contract on Friday, March 15, announced California Nurses Association/National Nurses United (CNA/NNU). The contract includes strong measures to improve patient safety and staff retention, including historic improvements in standards for per diem nurses. 

“We’re proud of this contract, which will greatly improve the quality of care provided to Ventura County’s patients by increasing the recruitment and retention of per diem registered nurses,” said Camille Williams, a per diem RN and member of the bargaining team who works in the post-anesthesia care unit (PACU). In lieu of working fixed schedules, per diem nurses don’t receive benefits like health insurance, pensions, or paid time off, but are considered staff. 

Williams continued, “Per diem nurses are seasoned professionals who live in the community and help fill staffing holes during weekend and night shifts and during planned and unplanned absences, like sick leave and parental leave. More per diem nurses means safer nurse-to-patient ratios and, with less need for travel nurses, a drastic reduction in costs for the county.”

The newly ratified contract covers 130 health care staff employed by Ventura County, including: per diem registered nurses, nurse practitioners, physician’s assistants, psychiatric technicians, and licensed vocational nurses. 

Health care workers, regardless of our titles, are driven by our dedication to show up for our patients every single day,” Karen Pelone, a per diem RN in the labor and delivery unit, who also teaches nursing at a local community college. “By standing united, and demanding and winning respect through these strong contract measures, we will be able to stem the staff turnover that has drained energy and resources. When all health care workers are respected for their contributions, we can create safer patient care conditions.”

Highlights of the contract include: 

  • Health and safety protections: improved protections from infectious disease and hazardous substances, including the highest levels of personal protection equipment (PPE);
  • Violence and harassment prevention: improved workplace violence prevention and discrimination and sexual harassment prevention;
  • Union rights enhancements: improved opportunities to advocate for professional standards, working conditions, and patients and community, including the addition of externs into bargaining unit;
  • Diversity, equity, and inclusion commitments: a joint statement with Ventura County declaring racism a public health crisis; and 
  • Recruitment and retention measures: historic economic gains in wage compensation and incentives, including up to 30 percent increases across-the-board over the life of the agreement for most bargaining unit members and an inter-campus float agreement. 

This contract covers the period from April 2024 to April 2029. Full-time and part-time registered nurses employed by Ventura County Health System ratified their five-year contracts in April 2023

In total, CNA represents 700 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.