Ventura County Nurses Push for 10% Annual Pay Hikes
Nurses in Ventura County's public hospitals and clinics are requesting annual raises three times higher than what the county is offering as they negotiate a new contract, the Ventura County Star reports. The previous contract expired a month ago.
Rita Batchley, the California Nurses Association's chief representative for Ventura County Medical Center and Santa Paula Hospital, said the union is seeking pay increases of at least 10% annually, while the county is offering a 3.25% annual raise.
Nurses in Ventura County are paid between $22 and $32 per hour, while the West Coast average for nurses is $38 per hour, according to Anita Smith, a nurse at Ventura County Medical Center.
County nurses on Tuesday presented a petition signed by 300 nurses -- almost two-thirds of the union -- to the county Board of Supervisors asking for higher salaries.
John Nicoll, the county's chief negotiator, declined to discuss the specifics of the negotiations but said that parties are "making progress on the economic and staffing issues."
Union and management representatives are expected to meet today to continue negotiating, according to Batchley.
Nicoll said the old contract will be in effect until a new agreement is reached (Biasotti, Ventura County Star, 1/9).