Registered nurses at the San Francisco Chinese Hospital are proud to have reached a preliminary settlement on their first union agreement, the California Nurses Association / National Nurses United (CNA / NNU) announced today.
The three-year agreement with strong protection for patients and nurses follows the vote by Chinese hospital doctors in August 2019 to join the CNA / NNU and a strike for safe patient care in May this year. Nurses say they have been strong to win this incredible mandate and know it will benefit the community for years to come.
“We are absolutely thrilled to have this agreement and we know it will help us recruit and retain skilled nurses, especially the bilingual nurses that are so important to our patient population,” said Sherry Yee, medical- surgical nurse. “The nurses at the Chinese hospital stayed on course in our contract battle, and we are really proud to have won so many important safeguards that will help us deliver the safe patient care that the people in our community deserve.”
Contract highlights include:
Economic benefits for recruiting and retaining experienced nurses: The contract includes wage increases of at least 10% over three years and a grading on a pay scale that guarantees annual pay increases and tenure increases. RNs also received ratification bonuses. Nurses say the economic benefits will help skilled nurses stay in the Chinese hospital to care for patients in the community.
Nursing-led committees to empower patient advocacy and address staff, job security, and other issues that affect safe patient care conditions.
Improved Access to Paid Time Off (PTO): Chinese hospital nurses have sacrificed during the pandemic and many have not taken or postponed vacation, which will improve in the future. The new contract gives caregivers more flexibility to care for loved ones who may be away from work or school.
Fixed contribution limits for health insurance: Nurses were there every day during this pandemic to look after the patients and they deserve care in return. The new contract provides for free health care in 2022 and sets firm limits on contributions to health care in the future.
Job security and complaints procedure: The Chinese hospital can no longer discipline nurses without meeting the standard for the just cause. RNs now have an enforcement process to challenge breaches of contract and unjustified disciplinary action. In addition, the Chinese hospital must notify any operational changes.
Opportunities for improvement: Entry-level nurses will advance to Personal Nurse 2 without undue delays in accordance with area standards.
Nurses say these highlights and other key contract features will have a long-lasting positive impact on the community.
“Safe staffing is critical to safe patient care, and this agreement helps us attract and retain long-standing, experienced nurses. We couldn’t be more excited and proud to have won our very first union contract, and we know having strong written patient and care protection will make a huge difference, ”said Alson Toy, Surgery and Recovery Nurse.