Nurses and St. Joe's near accord on contract



After months of negotiations punctuated by heavy picketing, nurses at three St. Joseph Health System hospitals – in Eureka, Petaluma and Apple Valley -- have tentatively settled on a new collective bargaining agreement.

In Eureka, one of the nurses' main complaints was that reductions in support staff had resulted in other nurses feeling overworked and tired. They were asking for their support staff to be restored, and a news release from the California Nurses Association indicates this, and some other demands, could be met if the new contract sticks:

"Nurses won improved RN-to-patient safe staffing ratio language, successfully fought off substantial increases to their healthcare premiums, and secured removal of a punitive “wellness” program (a study just released yesterday documented that wellness programs fail to provide promised savings while penalizing employees who may have chronic health problems)."

Dr. David O’Brien, interim president of St. Joseph Hospital in Eureka, said in a statement that St. Joe's looks "forward to the contract being ratified by our nurses in the coming weeks."

Contract negotiations continue, meanwhile, at another St. Joseph hospital, Santa Rosa Memorial, where nurses are represented by their local staff nurses association, says the Santa Rosa Press Democrat.

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