RNs Ratify Deal

 

Registered nurses (RNs) at Alameda Hospital voted unanimously to ratify a new contract with the hospital and Alameda Health System (AHS) on Friday Oct. 7, according to the California Nurses Association (CNA).

The new agreement, covering 120 registered nurses at Alameda Hospital, operated by AHS, features protected healthcare coverage and retirement benefits and significant economic gains.

Provisions in the new contract will improve the hospital’s ability to assure safe staffing levels and recruit and retain experienced RNs. Over the past few years the hospital has suffered from chronic short staffing and high turnover, losing approximately 30 RNs between July 2015 and March 2016, according to CNA. Nurses are regularly asked to work over time, up to 16-hour shifts, back-to-back, to fill holes in the schedule. There are currently 12 openings at the hospital, the majority in the emergency department, which provides the only hospital emergency services on the Island.

“I’ve been a nurse at Alameda Hospital since 1981. Over the years I have seen dedicated and experienced nurses leave, while the hospital has struggled to recruit for these positions,” said Rose Klein, RN, in a press release. “With the new contract I think our ability to recruit and retain experienced RNs and raise staffing levels will improve greatly.”

“I come in at all hours of the night to take care of my patients, and am particularly satisfied with the new contract’s stipulation that the facility will have 24-hour security,” said Glenda Cabotaje, RN, in the same press release. “The increased security is absolutely essential for safe patient care and it will help me have peace of mind at work.”

In the new deal, RNs will see a 28 percent pay increase over the first two years of the three-year contract (this is aimed at helping with nurse recruitment and retention). RNs will maintain their pension, healthcare and dental plan coverages. Alameda Hospital will expand its 24-hour visible security, and nurses will be given bilingual pay for translation assistance to Spanish, Tagalog and other non-English speaking patients.