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November 30, 2017 – Registered nurses voted unanimously yesterday to approve a new contract at Yuba County and the surrounding region’s only acute care hospital, Rideout Regional Medical Center in Marysville.
The new pact covers 530 registered nurses affiliated with California Nurses Association (CNA). RNs say the contract includes significant improvements and workplace protections all factors that will enhance the hospitals ability to retain and recruit staff, which in turn, provide experienced and skilled care for community residents in a stable environment.
Rideout Regional Medical Center is the primary acute care hospital serving Yuba, Sutter and Colusa counties, an area with less than one hospital bed per 1000 residents, far lower than the national average of 2.9 beds per 1000. Over the last decade the hospital has suffered chronic short staffing and a high turnover rate, losing many RNS to Sacramento area hospitals due to poor working conditions and management’s refusal to address them through collective bargaining, say nurses.
“The new contract will encourage new nurses to stay and this will help address the hospital’s high turnover rate. This is essential for building up a team of experienced RNs that really understand the needs of our diverse patient population,” said Sarah Belmonte, RN, CVICU. “The recent Oroville Dam disaster underscored the vital role our hospital plays in this region. This contract gives nurses the tools we need to advocate for improvements so that our community gets the quality care they deserve.”
“This new contract represents how incredibly united the nurses are on improving workplace conditions and patient care at our hospital,” said Rashelle Harig, RN, PACU. “As nurses we recognize how vital union representation is to our ability to advocate effectivley for safe patient care. The protection that this representation provides nurses as patient advocates, in essence extends to the entire community for which Rideout is the only acute care full service hospital.”
“I am proud of how hard we worked to achieve this contract because it strengthens our ability to be strong patient advocates and keep the hospital safe,” said Julia Snee, RN, Cancer Center. “Nurses will now have more input on how the hospital is run and new nurses will be given the professional support they need to flourish and stay here. This includes improvements in the availability and quality of training, which assures that new nurses are properly oriented and prepared for their assignments.”
Key elements of the pact include:
- Economic gains to help with nurse recruitment and retention including 7.75% in wage increases and 6.75% in step increases over the three-year course of the agreement. Reforms step increase process so that it is equitable.
- Maintenance of all health insurance benefits and for the first time, an agreement to cap healthcare premiums.
- Enhanced educational and training opportunities including improved reimbursement for continuing education.
- Expands RN input on patient care issues with key personnel.
The California Nurses Association has 100,000 members and is affiliated with National Nurses United, the largest and fastest growing union of registered nurses in the US with more than 150,000 members nationwide. CNA/NNU plays a leadership role in safeguarding the health and safety of RNs and their patients and has won landmark legislation in the areas of staffing, safe patient handling, infectious disease and workplace violence prevention.