(BCN) — Nurses at Stanford Health Care and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital have ratified new three-year labor contracts one week after going on strike, the nurses’ union announced Monday. Roughly 83 percent of the nearly 5,000 nurses represented by the Committee for the Recognition of Nursing Achievement voted Sunday to ratify the contracts, which cover nurses at both hospitals.
According to CRONA, the new contracts include 7 percent wage increases for all represented nurses, staffing based on the needs of patients, increased retirement and medical benefits, an additional week of paid time off and incentive payments for hard-to-staff hospital areas like critical care units.
“We are very proud of the advances we have made with these contracts,” CRONA President Colleen Borges said during a briefing Monday. “They addressed the goals we set out at the outset of negotiations, and we hope will lead the way to improve nursing as an overall profession.”
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The nurses went on strike April 25, arguing that Stanford management needed to improve working conditions, address low staff retention and high turnover rates and help prevent employee burnout. Roughly 93 percent of the union’s rank-and-file nurses had voted to authorize the strike last month after their previous labor contracts expire March 31.
CRONA officials had argued that Stanford Health Care and Packard Children’s were not adequately reinvesting in staffing at either hospital after they received hundreds of millions in federal pandemic relief funding – Stanford Health Care’s financial disclosure for the end of the 2021 fiscal year reported that revenue for the two hospitals grew 16 percent to a combined $8.3 billion.
The nurses received support from elected officials across the peninsula and South Bay, including Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto, Assembly members Ash Kalra, D-San Jose, and Marc Berman, D-Palo Alto, and state Sens. Josh Becker, D-San Mateo, and Dave Cortese, D-San Jose. U.S. Sen. Alex Padilla also visited the striking nurses on Friday.
“We are thankful for the outpouring of our community’s support, it was tremendous,” Borges said. Stanford Health Care said in a statement Monday the new contracts support the two sides’ “shared priorities” and will support nurses’ “health, well-being and ongoing professional development.”
“We look forward to welcoming our union-represented nurses back tomorrow, Tuesday, May 3,” Stanford Health Care said in its statement. “We appreciate the incredible effort that our entire health care workforce put forward last week.”
CRONA officials agreed Monday that both sides had shared goals, but suggested that they chose different ways to approach the negotiations.
“Sticking points really had to do with sort of a philosophical difference in how we approach things,” CRONA Vice President Kathy Stormberg said Monday. “It wasn’t so much that there was a specific issue, rather that it was a complete package of changes that we were working on.”
“The final result that we were able to achieve is was rewarding in that we believe that the hospitals have realized that they need their nurses at the bedside,” Borges said.
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