Sutter Health Reaches Contract Agreement with Santa Rosa Hospital Workers, Including Pay Increases
Under a recently reached contract agreement between Sutter Health and the Service Employees International Union Local 707, nurses at Sutter's two Santa Rosa-based hospitals will receive salary increases of between 4% and 11% per year, depending on their specialization, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat reports. The new contract also extends health and dental benefits to domestic partners of Sutter employees and improves education benefits for nurses. The contract, which will expire in October 2004, applies to more than 950 of the 1,350 workers at Sutter Medical Center and Warrack Hospital, but focuses mostly on nurses, who make up 40% of the employees covered under the new contract. The remainder of employees work in radiology, respiratory therapy, nutrition, clerical and business service positions. Through the new contract, the union achieved some of its goals, including caps on mandatory overtime and salary parity between the two hospitals. However, union officials said even under the new contract, a nurse at Sutter will earn about a dollar less per hour than a nurse with the same tenure at Kaiser Permanente, a pay difference that could make recruiting nurses to Sutter hospitals difficult. Michael Allen, general manager of SEIU Local 707, said, "It's pay, plus other things we are all going to have to work on to induce people to stay in nursing and to attract more into the field" (Rose, Santa Rosa Press-Democrat, 2/12).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.