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Monday, July 11, 2022

Source:  San Luis Obispo News

Thousands of California nurses get 16% wage increase in new contract with UC hospitals


By Cathie AndersonJuly 11, 2022

Roughly 17,000 registered nurses at University of California health systems, including those at UC Davis, voted to ratify a labor contract that provides wage increases of 16% across the board over three years, their union announced Monday.

The California Nurses Association also secured additional wage increases for the nurses at UC San Diego and UC Irvine as part of a push to reduce regional wage disparities within the UC system.

“This agreement recognizes and rewards registered nurses for our service and commitment to our patients and communities across the UC system, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Dahlia Tayag, a registered nurse and bargaining team member who works at UC San Diego.

UC officials described the negotiations as “collaborative and mutually respectful.” The agreement will take effect immediately and will run through Oct. 31, 2025. The prior contract was set to expire this fall.

“We believe this agreement recognizes the dedication, professionalism and quality of our nursing staff, and the extraordinary challenges they have faced for more than two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Letitia Silas, UC’s executive director of systemwide labor relations. “We send our heartfelt appreciation and thanks to all our nurses for their outstanding service to UC and our communities.”

Here’s when the pay increases will be implemented, UC noted:

▪ 6% increase effective Jan. 1, 2023

▪ 5% increase effective Jan. 1, 2024

▪ 5% increase effective Jan. 1, 2025

The university also will make some one-time payments: $3,000 each to career nurse, $2,000 to contingency nurses who worked 50% or more of full-time, and $1,000 to contingency RN’s who worked less than 50% of full-time over the last year.

Amid contract talks, nurses had upbraided the UC for its failure to provide sufficient staff or equipment such as face masks amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“For the past two years, management has publicly called us heroes while at the same time failing to adequately address the ongoing needs of the frontline staff and continuously violating our contract protections,” said David Yamada, a registered nurse at UCLA, in April.

But on Monday, the union bargaining team said they had achieved improvements to patient care and workplace safety. Most notably, they praised the creation of two joint labor-management committees that would focus on key systemwide issues, one on health, safety and emerging infectious diseases, and the other on diversity, equity and inclusion.

“Nurses have been leaders throughout this pandemic,” said Tayag, who is also a member of the CNA board of directors. “With our new union contract, we have made major improvements for patient care, workplace safety, and union rights. This sets a new standard for RN contracts in California and beyond.”

The nurses union, which also represents nurse anesthetists, nurse practitioners and transplant coordinators, said members also would see some benefit improvements, including eight weeks of fully paid family care and bonding leave and Juneteenth recognized as a holiday.

The agreement covers not only RN’s at the UC medical centers but also those who work in clinics and student health centers.

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