Nurses Union, University of California Hospitals Remain at Odds in Contract Negotiations
Negotiations between the California Nurses Association and the University of California's five teaching hospitals remained stalled yesterday as their contract was set to expire at midnight, the Sacramento Bee reports. If the two sides fail to reach an agreement, the union will call for a strike authorization vote next week, CNA leaders said. The two sides, which were expected to negotiate "late into the night," are divided over staffing levels, the hospital's merit pay system and mandatory overtime. The nurses union, which represents about 8,000 nurses at UC hospitals in Sacramento, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Irvine and San Diego, is calling for the hospitals to institute minimum nurse-to-patient ratios as part of the new contract. But UC officials want to delay implementing ratios until the state announces "what staffing levels will be enforced" at UC hospitals under the new nurse staffing law. The union also wants the system to replace the merit pay system with a "uniform pay scale" based on tenure. But it is "important to appropriately reward nurses who work hard to deliver quality patient care," UC said in a bargaining update posted on its Web site. The only issue on which the two groups have moved toward agreement is a proposed ban on mandatory on-call shifts, the Bee reports. The two sides remain far apart on the union's request to eliminate mandatory overtime shifts (Rapaport, Sacramento Bee, 5/1).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.