URGENT Nurses Approve Contract
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ Striking nurses at six hospitals voted Sunday to end a four-week walkout by approving a contract that will raise their pay three times over the next 34 months.
Seventy-seven percent of 1,200 registered nurses who voted approved ratifying the agreement, the union said. The California Nurses Association’s 2,200 members have been on strike, mainly over pay, since Aug. 2, when they joined 1,700 licensed vocational nurses and hospital service workers who walked off their jobs July 26. They struck mainly over health benefits, and went back to work Wednesday.
The new contract would provide raises of 8 percent, 7 percent and 6 percent over the life of the nurses’ contract and grant the increases a total of four months earlier than in a settlement rejected by a 2-1 margin on Aug. 19. The rejected 36-month pact offered increases of 7.5 percent, 6.5 percent and 6 percent.
Under the contract, a day-shift nurse at top scale will make $21.99 an hour by the end of the contract, or $45,700 a year.
Nurses are expected to begin returning to work on Wednesday, said Maureen Anderson, a CNA spokeswoman.
Karen Henry, chief negotiator fof the Affiliated Hospitals, the group representing the affected medical facilities, said Sunday night that the contract ″accomplished the hospitals’ bargaining objectives.″ She defined that mainly as avoiding large pay raises in a two-year period.
″It’s not everything every nurse wants, but I think it’s probably enough to satisfy most nurses,″ said Rebecca Morrow, a nurse and picket captain at Mount Zion Hospital.
Karen Sano, a critical-care nurse at Mount Zion, disagreed. She said ″a lot of nurses were not that pleased″ with the increase or the contract length. Many nurses expressed concern that the contract would prevent them from striking with Local 250 of the Hospital Workers Union if that union decides to strike when its new contract expires in two years.
The nurses’ negotiating committee unanimously endorsed the tentative settlement. A week earlier it gave only 5-4 support to the proposal voted down on Aug. 19.
The nurses’ strike has targeted Children’s, Marshal Hale, St. Mary’s, St. Francis and Mount Zion hospitals in San Francisco and Seton Medical Center in Daly City.