Negotiations Update: March 8, 2019
What it Means to Compete for World-Class Nurses
On Friday, CRONA made the case for a truly competitive economic package. The goal of our proposal is to get the wages and benefits we need to attract and retain highly skilled Nurses in the Bay Area. The cost of living in the Bay Area is soaring and the nursing shortage is growing. But hiring more Nurses is key to ensuring that the new hospitals are fully staffed, and to improving current Nurses’ working conditions. When job-searching, Nurses compare hospitals and we know that they look at the whole package: wages, retirement benefits and working conditions.
Our Economic Package Has To Be Truly Competitive
CRONA proposed across-the-board wage increases of 6% in 2019, 5% in 2020, and 5% in 2021. If we are to compete with other hospitals, our wages must improve. These increases are necessary to compensate for the shortfalls of our overall benefit package, particularly retirement benefits. We have the numbers to back this up.
Our comparative analysis shows that the expected value of Kaiser’s retirement benefit is 37% higher than Stanford and Packard’s; and UCSF’s is 191% more. When we looked at comparative retiree medical benefits, the gap is even more dramatic. The expected value of Kaiser’s benefits is 413% more than Stanford and Packard’s; and UCSF’s is a staggering 1077% more than the value of our retiree medical benefits. This analysis is based on the scenario of a Nurse who came to the hospital 5 years ago (in 2014) and expects to retire at age 61 with 31 years of service. Since it’s not realistic to overhaul our retirement benefits overnight, we need both meaningful wage increases and improvements to our existing benefits. This is how we begin to close the gap.
We proposed that the hospitals improve the current retirement benefit by increasing the employer base contribution by 1%. We also proposed a large increase to the lump-sum retiree medical benefit, which hasn’t changed in more a decade. We suggested raising the sums by between 2 and 6.8 times, but even with that dramatic increase, the comparative value of the retiree medical benefit would still be far less than at UCSF and Kaiser. We also proposed an innovative retiree medical benefit that would ensure Nurses’ ability to access the same high-quality health care they have provided over a lifetime of service, through the hospitals’ own healthcare network.
A Good Teacher is a Willing and Supported Teacher
On precepting, we told the hospitals that forcing Nurses to precept is contrary to best practice. The hospitals have claimed that there is a shortage of preceptors, even though we heard from many of you who want to precept and have not had the opportunity to do so. And the hospitals have not demonstrated that they’ve made special efforts to recruit preceptors. Your CRONA team heard you and knows that a good preceptor is one who wants to teach and who has access to training and support. CRONA proposed incentives to encourage more Nurses to precept, including increasing Nurses’ access to preceptor training, and doubling the preceptor differential, to $5.00.
We know that united, CRONA Nurses can do anything! We have a number of other important issues on the table and will continue to push for improvements that matter to you.
Stay strong and stay tuned for more updates.
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