UC Health System Agrees to Merit-Pay ‘Concession’ in Contract Dispute with CNA; Nurses Still Plan to Strike
University of California health system officials yesterday "yielded" to some contract negotiation demands from nurses and agreed to drop a proposed merit-based pay system, the Los Angeles Times reports. However, the health system and the California Nurses Association, which represents about 8,000 UC nurses, have not reached an agreement on other contract issues, and UC nurses still plan to strike on May 29. UC officials said that they would replace the proposed merit-pay system with a seniority-based system, but "retained the right to give one-time, lump-sum bonuses to reward performance." The health system also agreed to restrict mandatory overtime and on-call duty to "emergency situations" or "special circumstances" (Kay, Los Angeles Times, 5/24). However, UC "remained staunchly opposed" to a demand from nurses to implement minimum nurse-to-patient staffing ratios immediately (Rapaport, Sacramento Bee, 4/24). UC spokesperson Paul Schwartz said that "it would be inappropriate to establish minimum staffing until regulations implementing the state's own legally mandated ratios are established" (Los Angeles Times, 5/24). Schwartz said that the CNA has until 4 p.m. today to accept the new contract proposal (Wolfson, Orange County Register, 5/24). He added that UC plans to ask the Public Employment Relations Board for a temporary restraining order to prevent the May 29 strike, which the health system said "would be illegal because the union has not exhausted all negotiating procedures" (Los Angeles Times, 5/24).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.