Bay Area Nurses Reject Catholic Healthcare West Contract Offer
Nurses at some Bay area Catholic Healthcare West hospitals have turned down proposed contract agreements and have authorized a strike if negotiations continue to "fail," the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Last week, nearly 3,500 nurses at Northern California CHW hospitals were prepared to strike, but CHW officials and officials from the California Nurses Association reached an agreement that was presented for a vote. About 1,000 registered nurses at St. Mary's Medical Center and St. Francis Memorial Hospital in San Francisco and Seton Medical Center in Daly City, as well as 1,700 Sacramento-area nurses, rejected the contract offers. However, nurses at Dominican Santa Cruz Hospital and St. Louise Regional Hospital in Gilroy approved their offers. Chuck Idelson, a spokeperson for the nurses union, said that the proposed contracts at the San Francisco and Daly City hospitals did not "address the nurses' pension request and offered insufficient increases in retiree health benefits." The Chronicle reports that the proposals call for an increase in staffing levels, as well as a 5% wage increase in each of the next two years. The union was seeking an 8% wage increase. Both sides said they will now turn to a federal mediator. Idelson expects the mediation to take place before any "potential strike," but added that the nurses could call for a strike at "any time." Nurses are legally required to give a 10-day notice before striking (Colliver, San Francisco Chronicle, 7/3).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.