Sutter, nurses' union agree on contract

SANTA ROSA -- Registered nurses and Sutter Medical Center of Santa Rosa have reached a tentative agreement for a new collective bargaining contract for some 350 RNs represented by the California Nurses Association, the union announced today.

The agreement calls for an across-the-board pay increase of 7 percent over the next 30 months, and includes gains in provisions for governing medical leave, seniority rights and improvements on clinical educational leave, according to the union. The contract must now must be ratified by Santa Rosa nurses, who will take a final vote Tuesday at the hospital. The agreement, if approved, would last until June 30, 2014.

The agreement also marks the end of at-times contentious negotiations that included a CNA-led day-long strike last September, after the union had turned down a proposal from Sutter that, according to the union, contained reductions in benefits and retirement packages.

Sutter Health and the union have clashed over labor and other  issues at numerous Bay Area hospitals, including Sutter's new forthcoming hospital in Santa Rosa, which the nurses' union officially opposed.

"We are delighted to have won a new contract that preserves a high standard of patient care that was at the core of our proposals," said Toril Hayden, a medical surgical RN and nurse negotiator. "The nurses were also able to keep affordable health care coverage for ourselves and our families, which is of utmost importance to our RNs who work at the bedside every day."

Sutter said the agreement involving the Santa Rosa medical center reflects its "long-stated commitment to provide our valued nurses competitive wages and benefits and a respectful work environment while also taking steps to make our services more affordable for our patients. We thank our valued RNs for their input throughout the bargaining process." 




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