MARIN COUNTY: Nurses Agree to New Contract, End Dispute with Hospital
The 350 Marin General Hospital nurses represented by the California Nurses Association "gave overwhelming approval" to a new contract last week, effectively ending the "bitter contract dispute" between the union and the hospital, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The contract, which includes a 10.5% salary increase over three years, received a 96% approval vote. However, the contract does not include a provision that would have required the nurses to contribute money for their dependents' health care benefits -- a previous point of contention. Rose Ann DeMoro, executive director of the nurses' union, said, "The process of these negotiations was among the worst we've seen in the Bay Area in a long time." After their last contract expired Dec. 31, nurses continued to work, but held a 24-hour strike when talks about dependents' benefits reached an impasse. In the meantime, the hospital hired 120 replacement nurses from Denver-based U.S. Nursing. Because U.S. Nursing would not provide the replacement nurses unless they were guaranteed five days of work, a move putting the Marin nurses out of work during that time and increasing the "ill will" between the nurses and the hospital. Hospital spokesperson Kathie Graham said, "We are relieved and we're pleased that we reached a tentative agreement. It is the result of compromise and hard work" (Fimrite, 2/18).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.