Nurses at Stanford and Lucile Packard children’s hospitals have voted overwhelmingly to end a week-long strike, their union, the Committee for Nursing Achievement Recognition (CRONA), said Monday. The strike was the union’s first in 20 years against hospitals.
The nurses walked out on April 25 after a 93% approval vote that authorized CRONA to go on strike. Nurses have chosen to strike against hospitals over conditions they say have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Intense pressure from understaffed units and constant demands for overtime had up to 45% of union members considering leaving hospitals soon, according to the union, which represents around 5,000 nurses.
Over the weekend, 83% of nurses voted to ratify the three-year contract, which includes safe staffing measures, widespread pay increases, better access to mental health support, additional holidays and measures to recruit and retain nurses with high acuity zones. Nurses will return to work on Tuesday morning May 3, CRONA said.
“CRONA’s new contracts represent a huge victory for nurses at Stanford and Packard, who have fought tirelessly to improve working conditions and patient care. We have achieved improvements in all the priorities that nurses have identified at the start of our contract campaign CRONA nurses have always known We are pleased that hospitals are finally recognizing this after a week-long strike demonstrated how difficult it is to recruit nurses with the skills and experience that Stanford and Packard nurses bring to the care of their patients,” said Colleen Borges, president of CRONA and pediatric oncology nurse at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital.
The contract changes come amid nurse burnout and burnout nationwide. Recruitment and retention of nursing talent was a major focus during negotiations, the union said. The nurses called on hospitals to commit financially to address understaffing, the rising cost of living in the Bay Area and the continued lack of rest and recuperation.
Nurses will receive general pay increases that will keep pace with the Bay Area’s high cost of living, rising prices and competitive rates for contract nurses. The salary increases will be a combined base salary increase of 7% this year – initially 5%, followed by 2% – with further increases of 5% in 2023 and 5% in 2024.
Nurses working in hard-to-staff units requiring care for the most critically ill patients, including emergency departments, intensive care units and intensive care transport teams, will receive additional incentive pay . The new contracts require staffing based on patient acuity — the level of illness and care needed — and include commitments from hospitals that ensure nurses with high-acuity patients can safely take meals and breaks. security.
To reduce burnout, nurses also demanded better access to mental health treatment and the ability to rest and recuperate. The new agreement will give nurses better access to mental health care and specifically designated funding for mental health treatment.
Hospitals have pledged to consult with CRONA before selecting a provider to revamp their Employee Assistance Program, which has been widely criticized by many nurses for its late and inadequate support for nurses seeking advice. Nurses will also be able to pre-schedule an additional week of paid leave and contracts confirm nurses’ right to use protected sick leave for mental health reasons.
The new contract also offers significantly increased medical benefits and student loan assistance for retirees. The hospitals would also provide a new rapid response team to deal with incidents of workplace violence and in-person training on emergency response protocols.
The contract also maintains a no-cost medical plan for nurses and their spouses and dependents.
“I was proud to vote for this contract. This is what nurses at Stanford and Packard fought for: changes that ensure we can meet the needs of our patients, especially in intensive care units. and emergency services, with time to rest, recuperate and take care of our own health.We are grateful to have the support of our patients and our community, who have understood that excellent patient care are inseparable from the working conditions of nurses and have stood with us on the picket line,” David Hernandez, a Stanford hospital emergency nurse, said in the union statement.
In a statement released on Monday, Stanford Hospital executives said they were “pleased” the deal was ratified. “After lengthy discussions, we were able to reach a contract that reflects our shared priorities and enhances existing benefits for the health, well-being and continuing professional development of our nurses,” the statement said. “We look forward to welcoming back our union-represented nurses tomorrow, Tuesday, May 3. We appreciate the incredible effort that all of our healthcare staff have put in over the past week.