RNs win patient safety, hospital security improvements in their new contract.
By Staff Reports
PASADENA—Planned strikes by Nurses have been called off at hospitals in Oxnard, Northridge, and Camarillo after a tentative agreement was reached today between the Nurses’ Union, SEIU Local 121RN, and their employer, Dignity Health. The agreement comes after five intense months of negotiations between Nurses and hospital management. The contract makes improvements to workplace and patient care issues about which Nurses have been especially vocal, including plans to bolster hospital security, and to ensure that safe Nurse-to-patient ratios are maintained. The contract also prevents the “floating” of Nurses to certain departments in the hospital unless they have been specifically trained and validated to work there.
“Our Nurses were unified and ready to walk out and onto the strike line, right up until the last moment over these life-or-death issues” said Gayle Batiste, SEIU Local 121RN President Gayle Batiste, RN, CNOR at Northridge Hospital Medical Center and a member of the Union’s Bargaining Team that negotiated this contract. “These improvements will help us maintain safe, secure hospitals where Nurses can work without fear so that our patients can heal.”
Pickets held by Nurses at Dignity facilities in recent weeks revealed that concerns about patient safety and hospital security were widely held; there was huge turnout at the three hospitals’ strike authorization votes with 97% of them voting yes. And just days before the latest round of negotiations were to be held, a slew of elected officials, including five Presidential candidates, took to Twitter to voice their support for the Nurses’ push to improve hospital security and patient safety.
Nurses have been committed to using their contract negotiations to preserve safe patient care.
Under the terms of the tentative agreement, the new contract makes the following provisions that impact patient and Nurse safety:
Stronger contractual guarantees to address the hospitals’ security problems;
An agreement to meet with RNs and study the impact of any reduction of support (non-RN) staff;
Other safe staffing improvements, such as ensuring that the RN responsible for handling incoming ambulances is not also give a patient load.
“Nurses are pleased that we’ve secured things in our contract that will guarantee our ability to give the best patient care,” said Adriane Carrier, an RN at St. John’s Regional Medical Center in Oxnard. “That is why we became Nurses, and it is all we want. This Bargaining Team strongly recommends a ‘yes’ vote on the contract,” Carrier said.
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