California Nurses Association, St. Joseph’s Health System Reach Tentative Contract Agreement
The California Nurses Association, which represents 150 nurses at Petaluma Valley Hospital, has reached a tentative agreeement with St. Joseph Health System on a 30-month contract that includes a 25% wage increase, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat reports. Under the agreement, an entry-level "staff nurse II" would receive an increase in hourly wages from $28.15 to $35.91, or an annual increase from $51,233 to $65,362, at the end of the 30-month contract. The wage increase would be implemented over time, with a 7% increase retroactive to May, 5% retroactive to Sept. 1, 6% in July 2004, 4% in January 2005 and 5% in July 2005. The contract would expire in October 2005. The wage increase would bring Petaluma Valley Hospital nurses close to the wages earned by nurses at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, which also is owned by St. Joseph's, and with nurses at hospitals in Marin County, according to union officials. Kitty Brown, one of three nurses on the union negotiating team, said, "There was a lot at stake this time, and to say we are pleased with the contract is an understatement. It puts us in a much better position for recruiting new nurses and retaining the ones we have." Brown added that the contract improves pension and health benefits for retired nurses, creates pay incentives for senior nurses and provides for binding arbitration in cases of disagreement on quality of patient care. Nurses at Petaluma Valley will vote on the contract Friday. St. Joseph officials did not comment on the contract (Rose, Santa Rosa Press Democrat, 9/6).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.