SAN LUIS OBISPO: Nurses, Sierra Vista Reach Tentative Deal
Nurses and hospital officials at Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center reached a collective bargaining agreement last week, potentially ending a series of strikes that began in since September and contract talks that began in October 1998. The agreement also ends a five-year struggle by the nurses to organize at the facility, which is owned by Tenet Healthcare Corp. Under the proposed two-year contract, nurses will receive pay raises of at least 2%, two additional 3% raises by 2001, an increase in holidays from four to six and a single on-call pay rate of $4.50 an hour. The agreement also includes an open shop provision that gives nurses the option of joining the union. The 212 full- and part-time nurses represented by the California Nurses Association will vote to approve the contract on Dec. 30. Jo Ann Rogers, a member of the nurses' negotiating team, said the nurses were particularly pleased with the provision that will allow them to determine appropriate staffing levels based on the severity of patients' illnesses. "The sicker the patients get, the fewer we can safely take care of," Rogers said. She continued, "We feel like we got everything we could from Tenet at this time." Noting that the nurses wanted to focus on patient care, Associate Hospital Administrator Kris Kington said, "It's been real difficult on everyone regardless of what position they've taken on the union issues" (Hurly, San Luis Obispo Telegram-Tribune, 12/17).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.