UC NURSES: Tentative Contract Reached
Possibly marking a cease-fire in the two-year-long labor tug-of- war among Northern California nurses and hospitals, UC-Davis Medical Center and other UC facilities reached a tentative agreement with nurses early Wednesday, the Sacramento Bee reports. The agreement, specifics of which will vary according to UC site, will be reviewed by 6,000 nurses at nine UC facilities for approval during the next ten days (Kasler, 5/27). "The key issues for us in negotiations were patient care and staffing, respect for senior nurses and adequate wage compensation to retain experienced clinical nurses," said David Johnson, chief negotiator and head of the CNA's UC division (Minton, San Francisco Chronicle, 5/27). While terms of the agreement have not been disclosed, Johnson said "this contract represents a real step forward for nurses, both in terms of wages and in terms of patient-care issues" such as "safe staffing," adding that several issues remain "unresolved." The contract, set to end April 30, was extended twice and ran out Wednesday at midnight. Union nurses had informally picketed at UC Davis and other UC facilities two weeks ago, protesting low wages that drew experienced nurses to "higher-paying organizations like Kaiser." Last year, nurses led five one-day walkouts at Kaiser before an agreement was reached in March, while nurses at other hospitals held temporary strikes and sought to unionize -- what experts called the effects of "marketplace pressures to drive down costs" (Bee, 5/27).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.