Strike Vote April 10: It is Time for Action

Your CRONA executive board has issued a recommendation for a strike vote, which is set to take place on April 10. We have been negotiating in earnest for months, and the hospitals’ proposals just don’t measure up to what Nurses need. Please, join us at a meeting to ask questions, speak to your unit’s CRONA leader, or email us at CRONA@crona.org.

The Hospitals’ Proposed Wage Increases are Unacceptable: The hospitals’ proposal to raise base salaries by 3% only, with minimal improvements to retiree benefits, will not keep up with cost of living in the Bay Area. Nor will it make us competitive enough to solve the chronic understaffing in the hospitals.

Hospital Messages are Misleading: On wages, the only increase the hospitals are proposing to make is a 3% annual increase to base salaries. They are not proposing any increase to the step increases, and indeed repeatedly refused to make any improvements to the steps. The existing step increases are the result of raises CRONA previously negotiated.

We Know They Can Afford It: Against a background of world renown, massive profits and multimillion-dollar executive salaries, it is even more difficult for us to see why the hospitals refuse to value Nurses. Here’s what the numbers show:

  • The hospitals’ publicly reported profits (revenues after expenses) totaled more than $1.6 billion from 2015-2017. The amount of total money it would take for the hospitals to come up from 3% increases to 4% increases for all CRONA nurses is only about 8% of those revenues.
  • In recent years across the two hospitals, CEO compensation has been as high as $3.7 million per year, and CNO compensation has even been more than $800,000.
  • Under CRONA’s proposed wage increases, a 0.9 commitment Nurse at Step 6 (the step level at which the hospitals often try to recruit experienced Nurses) would earn a base pay of approximately $156k in 2020. That’s a small percentage of CEO and CNO compensation. And it’s not a high wage in the Bay Area. In Palo Alto, a government report stated that households earning as much as $170k may be unable to find housing at a cost that will enable them to stay in the city.

Understaffing is Chronic

We see it every day and night: our units are understaffed, Nurses are working above commitment, and vacant positions stay open too long. The hospitals have been unable to recruit Nurses to come to our hospitals for the wages they currently offer, despite costly recruitment efforts. Units like the ORs and ICUs have been chronically understaffed for years. We haven’t even been able to hire the Nurses needed right now. How does management expect to fill the new buildings? 

To Fix Understaffing, Wages and Benefits Must Compete

The hospitals cannot continue to rely on CRONA Nurses to work above and beyond their commitments, carrying the load in understaffed units, and being required to work extra call and overtime. This is how Nurses burn out and leave. The hospitals need to hire. And to do so, they need to offer a truly competitive total wages and benefits package.

The hospitals’ proposals don’t keep up with inflation or cost of living, and they do not compete. The hospitals are wrong in thinking that offering an extra $5k or so more in base wages per year than UCSF pays will make us truly competitive, given how superior UCSF’s retirement and retiree benefits are.

The hospitals are currently having problems recruiting and retaining experienced Nurses with specialized skills. Yet the hospitals have insisted on eliminating the specialty skill incentive program, which provided up to $3,000 a year to nurses with specialized skills. By eliminating that incentive, the hospitals are cutting into Nurse pay. If the hospitals refuse to agree to CRONA’s proposal for a comparable incentive program and refuse to move off of their 3% wage proposal, Nurses who previously earned specialty skill incentive payments would effectively receive wage increases worth less than 1.25%.

The hospitals should make a serious commitment to paying Nurses what we deserve and what it takes to convince more Nurses to come and work in Palo Alto.

Competitive Wages are a Patient Care Issue

Our patients need the hospitals to make a commitment to solving chronic understaffing. We care deeply about our patients. We are extremely concerned that hospitals will not be able to recruit the additional experienced Nurses they need to provide the level of world-class patient care we are known for. They are expanding their facilities even when our current units are not adequately staffed, and they are counting on Nurses to bear the brunt. We owe it to ourselves and our patients to say enough is enough.

Strike Vote April 10

Your vote matters. Voting either in person or by proxy is essential. If you do not vote, your vote will be counted as “No”. Visit the crona.org website to learn more about how to vote, and for information about how to prepare.

Membership Meetings Upcoming

Saturday, April 6

  • 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. LPCH Boardroom, 1st floor LPCH (near LPCH Auditorium)

Sunday, April 7

  • 6:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. Linda Meier Boardroom, SHC 3rd floor (between C and D pavilion)
  • 6:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. LPCH Boardroom, 1st floor LPCH (near LPCH Auditorium)
  • 4:00 – 5:00 p.m.Webinar Meeting, see member email for details.

#CRONAStrong

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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