Tentative Agreement Reached: Ratification Vote May 8
On Friday night, into Saturday morning, and then again until late yesterday evening, CRONA has been negotiating to bring this process over the finish line. These negotiations came down to the wire, but the hospitals have finally agreed to a contract that Nurses can be proud of. CRONA’s goal throughout these negotiations has been to get an agreement that protects and supports Nurses, and we have achieved that.
With this agreement, CRONA has secured an overall economic package and strong workplace protections that put our Nurses ahead of other hospitals in the Bay Area. The agreement includes across-the-board base wage increases of 3 percent each year, augmented by a 1 percent retention incentive payment in the first year, and new certification payments that could amount to another 3 to 5 percent of compensation. The agreement also includes a 1 percent increase in retirement matching for all Nurses and a more than 65 percent increase to the medical retirement benefit for which most current Nurses are eligible.
In addition to a competitive economic package, we are proud to share that the agreement also includes the strongest workplace violence prevention language we have seen in any Bay Area contract, new limitations on floating, secured protections for part-time positions, and expansion of the precepting differential to cover precepting of traveler nurses.
We made some difficult decisions to get to this point, but in the end, we believe this tentative agreement reflects the seriousness of purpose with which we entered the negotiations – and our goal of achieving a package that will keep CRONA Nurses ahead economically while also creating the workplace conditions we need to succeed. The hospitals have seen our unity, and they have heard our messages about understaffing and Nurse burnout. We have been able to achieve what we have because the hospitals had no choice but to pay attention to us.
True to the history of CRONA and of Nursing, we stood strong for patients, and for our profession. Now we must stay aware and remain committed to ensuring that Nurses are treated fairly and with respect. We believe that the tentative agreement addresses the issues that matter most to Nurses, and we also plan to stay committed to each other and to what’s right.
Tentative Agreement Overview
A detailed description of the terms of the tentative agreement is available on the CRONA website here and we will be providing additional analysis in the coming days, but here are some highlights:
Wages and Incentive Payments
Under the three-year agreement, Nurses will receive between a minimum of a 10 percent and upwards of 15 percent increase in their wages, through a combination of wage increases and incentive payments. These increases and payments include:
- Retroactive to April 1, 2019, across-the-board wage increases of 3 percent, with subsequent increases on April 1, 2020, and April 1, 2021.
- A retention payment of 1 percent for current Nurses on the first anniversary of contract ratification.
- A certification incentive payment of $2,000 in the first year of the contract – which is a lump-sum payment for any Regular or Relief Nurse who has or obtains a qualifying national certification by March 31, 2020; followed by quarterly certification incentive payments of $375, totaling $1,500 per year. These quarterly payments are now part of our contract and do not expire. The greater up-front certification payments, when combined with the retention payment and base wage increases, mean that Nurses could receive increases of 5 or 6 percent overall in the first year following ratification.
- The agreement increases the precepting differential negotiated in the last contract to $3.00 per hour, and makes other significant improvements to the preceptor program. The decision to become a preceptor will remain voluntary, with a mechanism for Nurses who need a break or to exit the program. For Nurses who want the opportunity to precept, the hospitals will pay for preceptor training and will allow Nurses to take the training within their commitment. And – in a first for any Bay Area contract that we know of – precepting of traveler nurses will be covered. Any Nurse who precepts a traveler nurse will be entitled to the differential.
Retirement and Retiree Medical
- The agreement calls for a 1 percent increase in employer matching for all Nurses participating in the retirement plan, effective 2022. The agreement also increases the current “Group D” retiree medical benefit for which most CRONA Nurses are eligible by 50 percent in the first year of the contract, and includes additional 5 percent increases in the second and third years. Altogether, this will increase the overall value of the benefit by more than 65 percent.
Strong Protections for Working Conditions
Historically, CRONA contracts have led the way in workplace improvements and this agreement continues that tradition with several strong new protections, including some that are the first of their kind:
- The agreement includes workplace violence prevention provisions that will make a real change in how workplace violence is addressed and ensures that Nurses have a strong voice in making sure the hospitals provide safe working conditions. Nurses will have enforceable rights to be reassigned if they are threatened or assaulted by a patient or patient’s family member. Nurses will participate in workplace violence prevention planning and will have a say in developing reporting procedures and trainings. CRONA will have the right to ensure that the hospitals maintain legally compliant plans. And, under the agreement, the hospitals will conduct trainings for all Nurses on workplace violence prevention and de-escalation techniques.
- The agreement builds on gains made in previous negotiations and secures protections for part-time positions. Units with 10 or more Regular Nurses will be required to maintain an 80% to 20% mix of full- to part-time positions. And when part-time positions are vacated in units with five or more Regular Nurses, so long as the unit does not already have more than 40% part-time positions, those part-time vacancies will be reposted at the same or lower commitment (with a few exceptions for units with fewer than 10 Regular Nurses).
- The agreement updates the ESL program and ensures that Nurses will be able to use their accrued ESL on the fourth day of illness or injury, rather than only on the fourth day of missed work – and regardless of whether the Nurse worked or was scheduled to work the first three days of illness or injury.
- The agreement breaks new ground in imposing limitations on the distances that Nurses can be required to float or work in multiple locations. Under the new provisions, Nurses cannot be required to float more than 35 miles and cannot be regularly assigned, without their agreement, to a location that is more than 35 miles from their primary work location.
- The agreement secures the right of Nurses to vote to “bundle” winter holidays. This means that Nurses in a unit can vote whether to adopt a schedule that would give Nurses 48 hours off over the holidays.
- The agreement launches a new program designed to support Nurses pursuing higher education by offering Relief Nurse positions for up two years while the Nurses pursue a BSN or MSN.
- The agreement provides protections for Nurses injured or exposed on-the-job by ensuring that a pre-scheduled vacation cannot be shortened as a result of a short-fall in PTO if the short-fall is the result of PTO use for a worker’s compensation waiting period.
- The agreement continues to protect Nurses from arbitrary changes to the attendance policy by locking in the core elements of that policy, as well as the policies on pre-approved vacation and education time.
- • The agreement also, for the first time since the PNDP was enacted, makes significant changes to its structure that are designed to make the program less burdensome. The PNDP Panel reviews will be only once every three years (as opposed to every other year), the number of exemplars required has been reduced, and certain point categories expanded. While the PNDP will require CN IIIs and CN IVs to obtain national certifications, current CN IIIs and CN IVs will have until the end of the three-year contract to do so, as will anyone applying to the PNDP before January 1, 2020.
Thank you for standing strong together throughout these negotiations. The hospitals saw our unity and felt our strength. We showed that we were willing to stand up for Nurses today and in the future, and because of that, the hospitals were finally willing to accept an agreement that meets our needs.
TA Ratification Vote
The ratification vote will take place on May 8, with details on timing and location to come. We are excited to share more details about the TA in advance of the ratification vote.
Attend a Membership Meeting to Learn More:
Wednesday, May 1
- Webinar, 8:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m., login information will be provided in a separate email
Thursday, May 2
- 1:45 p.m. – 3:00 p.m., LPCH Auditorium, 1st floor (old hospital)
Tuesday, May 7
- 7:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m., Linda Meier Boardroom, 3rd floor SHC (between C and D pavilion)
- 7:30 pm. – 9:00 p.m., Linda Meier Boardroom, 3rd floor SHC (between C and D pavilion)
Saturday, May 4: We will hold a meeting if we can find an available room, will announce in separate email with webinar information.