UC and California Nurses Association reach agreement on labor contract

Joshua Jordan/Senior Staff

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The University of California and the California Nurses Association, or CNA, announced Monday their four-year labor contract that will affect nearly 14,599 registered nurses affiliated with the UC system.

According to a press release from the UC Office of the President, or UCOP, the agreement includes an annual wage increase of 3 percent for eligible nurses, quality health benefits at the same rates as other UC employees and the same retirement benefits for new nurses as current nurses until the end of the contract.

CNA has been working for more than 17 months on the contract — since May 2017 — according to Randy Howell, a CNA registered nurse. UC registered nurses held a sympathy strike  from May 7-9 over their collective bargaining contract issue with the UC administration.

“We are so proud to ratify this historic contract for all registered nurses at UC,” Megan Norman, a registered nurse at UC Davis said in the CNA press release. “Nurses stood together in solidarity and fought back over 60 takeaways that would have directly affected our ability to care for our patients.”

The registered nurses affiliated with the UC provide medical services at the five UC medical centers — UC Davis Medical Center, UC Irvine Medical Center, UCLA Health, UC San Diego Health and UCSF Medical Center — 10 campus student health centers and various outpatient clinics, according to a press release from UCOP.

Howell said he has been working at the UCSF Medical Center since January 2008. According to Howell, the new contract includes “historic language” that protects nurses from workplace violence, sexual violence and infectious diseases, with which the hospitals now have to comply.

“Anytime we have a close contract and we have a language we can enforce for unsafe working conditions, we are in a stronger position to make the university abide by our contract,” Howell said. “Since we are in a close contract, it’s more enforceable. Everyone worked together to reach an agreement.”

Howell said that overall he was “very pleased” with the contract.

The CNA bargaining team won expanded union rights for all UC nurses, including those who do not work a regular schedule. Thus, they have protection when protesting against unsafe conditions without fear of retaliation, according to the CNA press release. Howell said a protection around shift rotation for nurses is included, which fixes the issue of mandatory shift rotation at UCLA and UCSF.

“This agreement supports the continuing hard work and dedication of our nurses,” UC Vice President of Human Resources Dwaine B. Duckett said in the UCOP press release. “We are grateful for their service to UC, to patients, and to communities across California. Leadership from both sides worked hard at the table to resolve a very complex set of issues.”

Contact Bella An at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @BellaAn_dc.