Silicon Valley Nurses Ratify Contract With 13-16 Percent Raises

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By Joyce E. Cutler

Some 400 public sector nurses in Silicon Valley would get raises of 13 percent along with longevity pay under a pact California Nurses Association members ratified.

The four-year contract covering nurses at clinics, the county hospital, and correctional facilities comes after eight months of negotiations between CNA and San Mateo County. The pact includes raises, incentive pay, and training language, and it avoids a two-tier retirement system the county sought, chief nurse representative Margarita Harrington told Bloomberg Law.

Nurses in balloting counted late March 22 approved the contract by 92 percent, Fabiana Ochoa, a CNA labor representative for the San Mateo nurses, told Bloomberg Law.

The Board of Supervisors must approve the pact, which would go into effect in May, the specific date depending on when the board votes on the contract, Harrington said.

The contract includes a 5 percent across-the-board wage increase. Workers will get another 4 percent raise effective Jan. 1, 2019; a 2 percent raise Jan. 1, 2020; and another 2 percent bump Jan. 1, 2021.

Longevity Pay

An additional 3 percent longevity pay raise kicks in after nurses work 6,240 hours, a key incentive to retain and recruit nurses, Harrington said.

“A big thing here is you have a lot of other hospitals that are paying the nurses a lot of money, so basically San Mateo Medical Center is a training ground for these nurses to come here, get trained really well, new grads, and they turn around and work at these other hospitals and make more money. So recruitment and retention was a really big issue for us,” she said.

Negotiators reached agreement on the pact late March 20, setting up the ratification vote March 22. The agreement is expected to go to the board by the April 24 meeting at the latest and as early as the April 10 meeting, county spokeswoman Michelle Durand told Bloomberg Law March 22.

Violence Training

Nurses also won training in how to de-escalate violence for RNs working in jails and clinics. The county will conduct the training, which was already provided to ER nurses.

In addition, issues of missed meal and rest breaks will be handled on a labor-management committee that will meet monthly.

“We’re really happy and the nurses are happy, too,” Harrington said.

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