Nurses at Four Verity Health Hospitals Reach Significant Tentative Agreement

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California Nurses Association Press Release, 12/20/16

Protecting Services at Former Daughters of Charity Hospitals

After four years of instability and threats of hospital closures or major cuts in patient services, registered nurses have reached a significant tentative agreement on a new contract covering nearly 1500 RNs at four former Daughters of Charity hospitals that are now owned by Verity Health, the California Nurses Association announced today.

RNs at San Jose’s O’Connor Hospital, St. Louise Regional Hospital in Gilroy, Seton Medical Center in Daly City and St. Vincent's in Los Angeles are covered by the agreement. Nurses will vote on the pacts Wednesday and Thursday.

Keys to the settlement are continued maintenance of the hospitals and the vital patient services they provide – the top priority of CNA throughout the arduous process of the sale of the former Daughters of Charity hospitals – as well as protecting the nurses’ retirement plans and health coverage.

The tentative pact also includes pay increases of more than 19 percent over the four years of the agreement, major health and safety gains, and expanded system-wide protection of job security rights. The RNs also welcomed protecting existing standards at Seton Medical Center, one of CNA’s oldest bargaining units.

On health and safety, the agreement adds to contract language implementation of new statewide regulations on hospital workplace violence prevention plans, which are important for safety for hospital employees, patients, and visitors, and patient handling regulations to reduce nurse injuries and patient falls and accidents. It also includes important provisions to mitigate the effects of the spread of communicable diseases.

We are thrilled to secure stability at the former Daughters hospitals after four long, trying years in which our patients and communities have been uncertain if we would continue to have hospitals and the critical services we need,” said Debra Amour, RN, Seton Medical Center. 

“For nurses, this is a landmark agreement,” said Maria Canonizado, RN, O'Connor Hospital.  “We have been able to preserve our guaranteed pension plan, to assure nurses can retire in dignity, and the full employer-paid health benefits for nurses and our families. We are also pleased to have an agreement that provides improved pay that nurses have earned. It’s a banner day.”

“This agreement will improve patient safety in our hospitals, which is vital for protecting not only nurses, but our patients and their families as well. We are grateful to CNA and the unity of our nurses for achieving this victory,” said Theresa Balcruz, RN, St. Vincent Medical Center.  

Major elements of the pact include:

  • Continued defined benefit plan for retirement with a new formula in which new retirement accruals cannot lose value and will grow by a guaranteed rate.
  • Across-the-board raises of 19 percent over the four-year term of the agreement.
  • Protected health coverage including for nurses working less than 30 hours/week.
  • Improved health and safety language to strengthen existing protections against communicable disease and enhance workplace violence prevention and safe patient handling.
  • Expansion of master contract provisions with first time system-wide standards on health and safety, and seniority, job posting, and other union rights.
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