Nurses May Not Receive Retirement Benefits After Six-Month Strike at Doctors Medical Center
A six-month-long strike over retirement benefits by nurses at the Doctors Medical Center San Pablo/Pinole "may not end unless nurses give up their demands," the Contra Costa Times reports (Silber, Contra Costa Times, 5/7). Registered nurses at Doctors began the strike after negotiations on a new contract failed. The California Nurses Association, which represents the nurses, and Tenet Healthcare, which owns the Doctors facilities, began contract negotiations on Aug. 31 when the nurses' contract expired, but the discussions ended without an agreement on Oct. 22. The nurses have asked for subsidized health benefits for retired nurses and a pension plan to which the hospital would contribute 5% of nurses' incomes (California Healthline, 1/30). Last week, 85% of Doctors nurses represented by the CNA voted to decline a contract that hospital officials have called the "last, best and final offer," the Times reports. That offer -- identical to the one proposed in October -- includes an immediate pay raise of 10% and two 7% pay increases over the next two years but does not include retiree medical benefits, according to the Times. Further, more benefits may not be added because of pressure Tenet faces to keep costs down. In addition, in a "systemwide model" for contract negotiations Tenet and the Service Employees International Union last week reached an agreement for SEIU nurses that lacks retirement benefits, the Times reports. Although more nurses may join the SEIU, negotiators for the CNA say they will not end the strike. Many of the 450 registered nurses on strike have found work elsewhere, while about 70 have returned to work at Doctors. Meanwhile, officials have signed longer contracts with the nurses who have been working there during the strike (Contra Costa Times, 5/7).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.