Negotiations Update: Final Week before Contract Expiration

On Tuesday, CRONA presented our comprehensive proposals to the hospitals on all unresolved issues, including wages, benefits and working conditions. Our current contracts expire on Sunday, March 31, and significant gaps still remain between our positions and the hospitals’. We are working hard to try to reach agreement and will continue to keep you posted throughout the week. Please plan to attend a CRONA membership meeting on Saturday to find out the latest.

CRONA Membership Meetings: Saturday, March 30

6:30 – 9:00 a.m.: Come at any time and for as long as you can.

LCPH Auditorium, 1st floor

Our Hospitals Face Serious Challenges

CRONA Nurses see first-hand how turnover and understaffing pose risks to patients and cause stress and overwork for Nurses. We are standing up for the improvements to wages and benefits that we need to ensure world-class care for our patients, and to make the hospitals places that Nurses want to stay.

Too many Nurses are leaving the hospitals because they don’t see their hospital as a place to stay and make their careers. We can change that. But to do so, the hospitals need to stop treating turnover and understaffing as acceptable and start making a real investment in retaining and supporting Nurses. To make a dent in the serious challenges of understaffing and turnover, we need serious improvements.

CRONA Has Proposed Improved Wages and Benefits

CRONA has proposed across-the-board wage increases of 5.5% effective April 1, 2019; 4.5% effective April 1, 2020; and 4.5% effective April 1, 2021. These wages would put us ahead of Bay Area competitors and keep us ahead during the contract term. We offer world-class care, at top-rated hospitals, in the most expensive region in the nation. We deserve wages and benefits to match.

We need an economic package that can truly compete. We need better retirement benefits, including retiree medical coverage, to help Nurses see a long career as possible at Stanford and Packard. In the coming months and years, hiring needs to increase dramatically to fill the hospitals’ many vacancies and to staff the new buildings. To be successful in this hiring push, the hospitals need to offer a total package that is competitive with other prestigious hospitals. And they need to ensure that experienced Nurses with specialized skills do not leave.

Retirement benefits are a proven way to improve retention. CRONA has proposed a 1% increase in the hospitals’ base contribution to the retirement plan and substantial improvements in the retiree medical coverage, including a substantial increase in the existing lump-sum benefit and giving retirees access to the hospitals’ own medical plans, the Stanford Health Care Alliance (with a portion of that coverage paid for by the hospitals). CRONA members understand that the status quo will not solve understaffing and turnover. As the hospitals grow, they must listen to Nurses and to make the changes we need to staff fully and care for patients.

CRONA will continue to stand strong for the economic package Nurses need and deserve. This package needs to be paired with protections for Nurses that ensure a respectful, safe and supportive workplace.

Precepting Should Remain Voluntary

Precepting is an important and often an incredibly demanding job. The best preceptor is a willing volunteer who is passionate about teaching. The hospitals’ continued insistence that they should be able to force Nurses to precept runs contrary to proven best practices, and it is not acceptable. The hospitals have failed to show that mandatory precepting is necessary. We know that many Nurses have trained as preceptors, and many more have expressed an interest in precepting but have not been supported in taking the precepting classes.

If there is truly a need for additional preceptors, the way to encourage Nurses to precept is to increase the precepting pay differential and to pay for the precepting class, not to force the role onto unwilling Nurses.

CRONA Nurses Deserve to Have a Say on Workplace Violence

When a Nurses is assaulted or threatened by a patient or family member, the Nurse should have the right to request a change in patient assignment, and that request should be granted unless no other staff are available. To date, the hospitals have rejected this common-sense proposal. The hospitals’ only explanation for their rejection is that they don’t think it’s an appropriate topic for our labor agreement. What we find inappropriate is the hospitals’ failure to address this issue. We need to get serious about protecting Nurses.

To ensure Nurses’ interests are represented, CRONA needs a voice on the hospitals’ workplace violence prevention committees. On Monday, the hospitals told us that they did not believe it would be appropriate to include CRONA Nurses, because the other committee members are all management representatives. That’s exactly why we need to be in the room. Bedside Nurses are on the front lines — we are the ones who get assaulted and threatened. We can speak from experience. We deserve to be part of decisionmaking about how to make our workplace safe.

Part-Time Positions Are Key to Improving Retention

Some CRONA Nurses have been waiting years for part-time positions to become available. The hospitals have so far rejected CRONA’s proposal to maintain language that protects part-time positions by requiring a recently vacated part-time position to be re-posted at the same commitment level if the unit seeks to hire. We know this protection is key to retention and, in some units, to ensuring that highly experienced Nurses remain.

No Need for a More Stringent Attendance Policy

Nurses should not be forced to choose between coming to work sick, which can endanger their patients and colleagues, or being disciplined. CRONA has proposed extending contract provisions that prevent the hospitals from making the current attendance policies more punitive. So far, the hospitals have not agreed.

Our Contract Expires March 31
Attend a CRONA membership meeting on Saturday to learn more:

CRONA Membership Meetings: Saturday, March 30
6:30 – 9:00 a.m.: Come at any time and for as long as you can.
LCPH Auditorium, 1st floor



Keep up to date with negotiations by checking your email and attending membership meetings. Download a printer-friendly PDF of this post here.

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