Unionized Nurses Approve Contract Agreement With San Diego-Based Sharp HealthCare
Sharp Professional Nurses Network -- a local affiliate of the United Nurses Associations of California -- on Friday announced that members approved a tentative contract agreement with San Diego-based hospital chain Sharp HealthCare, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. Union officials said that about 95% of nurses who voted supported the agreement, which took effect after the vote and will continue through June 30, 2007.
Under the agreement, the pay scale for nurses will shift from a merit-based to a tenure-based system. The new pay scale will provide wage increases of at least 12% for more senior nurses and increases of about 3% for less-senior nurses, according to union President Chris McGovern. The agreement included the new pay scale to help address wage differences between more senior nurses who were hired at lower salaries before the current nursing shortage increased wages for new nurses, the Union-Tribune reports. Tenure-based wage increases will begin to take effect on nurses' anniversary dates starting Oct. 1, Sharp officials said. In addition, the agreement provides extra compensation for nurses with bachelor's degrees in nursing or health-related master's degrees, McGovern said.
Sharp HealthCare agreed to comply with state nurse-to-patient ratio rules that took effect Jan. 1 but did not include specific staffing ratios in the contract as the union had sought. Sharp HealthCare also did not agree to a provision that would have required nurses to join the union and pay dues after they worked at company hospitals for one year (Berestein, San Diego Union-Tribune, 6/12).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.