California RNs

  1. i was just talking to a cyber friend who lives in the san fran bay area.

    she told me california nurses have a strong union out there.......i was floored.

    nobody around here has a nursing union.

    my question: is this true?

    can anyone provide details?

    i am interested in the carmel area.

    please respond.
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  2. 23 Comments

  3. by   sjoe
    All depends on what you mean by "strong."

    Strong in the sense that in many locations in California, particularly the SF Bay Area, wages are relatively high--though working conditions are abysmal, as they are over most of the country, apparently, and:

    1) the proportion of nurses-to-population is VERY low (California presently ranks 49th in the nation).

    2) 15% of RNs licensed in California do not work in the state.

    Do some exploring before you get too excited about unions.

    And, by the way, you wouldn't be able to afford to live in Carmel on an RN's salary.
    Last edit by sjoe on Jul 31, '03
  4. by   ANnot4me
    We do have a union called the California Nurses Association (CNA). They are a great advocate. In the bay area, we are among the highest paid nurses in the country and our benefits are good too. It is no Utopia and job satisfaction is still an issue for most of us. www.calnurses.org

    There is a new law in CA, AB394, that will establish nurse/patient ratios in all departments. We already have them in critical care.
  5. by   Gomer
    Northern California is known for its unionized hospitals, now they are also infecting Southern California. (I'm no fan of unions and very lucky that my hospital has been able to stay union-free).

    Two major CA nursing unions are CNA (Calif. Nurses' Assoc., once was part of ANA but pulled out some years ago) and SEIU. Both appear to hate each other as they want your $$$$ (dues) and are fighting for the same workers (except SEIU also accepts non-RN's).

    To give you and idea of what these unions are like:

    I believe CNA just joined forces with a steelworkers union (or some other non-healthcare related union). Only problem is the non-nursing union has major retirement financing issues and will tap into the CNA's retirement funds. Also, CNA is trying to organize outside of Calif...so some of your dues go outside of the state for union activities.

    SEIU is simply a union's union...wants to organize everyone in healthcare.
  6. by   pickledpepperRN
    The Caregivers union cannot "tap into the CNA retirement fund" because there has never been a CNA retirement fund.. CNA is taking advantage of THEIR plan to negotiate defined pension plans into contracts for nurses like me. More than one plan has been voted for by RNs at their facilities.

    The Steelworkers pension trust is a defined pension plan not tied to the stock market. CNA staff and some hospitals have this plan which pays retirees according to years of service and age at retirement. Unlike a 401K, 403B, or IRA it cannot be reduced because the value of shares goes down.

    Patient care remains first priority. The profession of nursing is #2 but must be achieved for safe care and retention of nurses. It is wonderful to see the cooperation between the RNs and caregivers where such alliances exist. The standards are high.
    http://www.calnurse.org/cna/pdf/allianceexp.pdf
    http://www.steelworkerspension.com/
    http://www.cheu.org/
    On the ratios:
    http://www.calnurse.org/finalrat/ratio7103.html
  7. by   Gomer
    Thanks for the explanation Spacenurse. I was under the impression that once the retirement plan using both the nursing and non-nursing members contributions was set-up it would have a negative impact on the nursing members due to contribution rates, age of participants, etc. Sorry for the misinformation.
  8. by   jemb
    Our facility RN's are with UNAC, and we have a very good contract.

    I think the only way other hospitals (in CA, anyway) are going to keep unions out is to pay fair wages, give decent benes, and provide decent working conditions. The push for unionization will probably increase now that OT pay is an issue.

    I have a friend who works at a non-union facility in Orange County. They pay a little bit less than the other hospitals in the area, but the benefits and working conditons are good, and the nurses are treated well. Most nurses who are hired there have no desire to leave, at least according to my friend, and they have no interest in a union.

    Wouldn't mind working there myself but from where I live, I would spend two hours each way on the freeway! I don't think that's going to happen....
    Last edit by jemb on Jul 31, '03
  9. by   pickledpepperRN
    Originally posted by Gomer
    Thanks for the explanation Spacenurse. I was under the impression that once the retirement plan using both the nursing and non-nursing members contributions was set-up it would have a negative impact on the nursing members due to contribution rates, age of participants, etc. Sorry for the misinformation.
    It is a VERY confusing topic. Those 401 and other plans seemed good until the selling price of shares hit bottom.
    Now with so many of us nearing retirement age it is a hot topic.
  10. by   pickledpepperRN
    Originally posted by jemb
    Our facility RN's are with UNAC, and we have a very good contract.

    I think the only way other hospitals (in CA, anyway) are going to keep unions out is to pay fair wages, give decent benes, and provide decent working conditions. The push for unionization will probably increase now that OT pay is an issue.

    I have a friend who works at a non-union facility in Orange County. They pay a little bit less than the other hospitals in the area, but the benefits and working conditons are good, and the nurses are treated well. Most nurses who are hired there have no desire to leave, at least according to my friend, and they have no interest in a union.

    Wouldn't mind working there myself but from where I live, I would spend two hours each way on the freeway! I don't think that's going to happen....
    Yes I worked at a fine hospital with a kindness that was felt by all. It was understandable that no one wanted to rock the boat with trying to make it contractual.
  11. by   SCB
    I live and work in San Diego. My first ten years as a nurse was spent in the Navy. I got out of the Navy here is San Diego, and this place is like going back 20 years in time. We do have a union (hand picked out of the back pocket of hospital admin), and the pay is low, very low for this area. If I were not married I could not afford to live and work here. The nursing community is not forward thinking with respect to higher education, and other important issues. There is no room for the APN. I got lucky because my husband got a job transfer, and now we will live and work in an area where the universities are loaded with higher degree programs for nurses. Before you make the move make sure the place is lined up with you goals and needs. This changes from town to town out here in California.
    Good Luck.
  12. by   pickledpepperRN
    Palomar-Pomorado is, I think the highest paid hospital in San Diego county now. It is in Escondido, north of the city. The traffic is OK is you go north for night shift but terrible going home from day shift. NICE nurses.

    And in the northern half but rural (not oficially but there are farms & cows in Gilroy, the Garlic Capitol).

    http://www.calnurses.org/
    http://www.calnurse.org/cna/press/73103.html
    July 30, 2003
    For information: Seton: Nancy Ostrowski 510-205-6308 / St. Louise: Patty Lasky 408-920-0290
    Improvements in patient care, staffing & retirement
    RNs reach new contracts at Daly City & Gilroy hospitals

    The RNs are represented by the California Nurses Association.

    The collective bargaining agreement covering the two facilities closely mirrors the recently concluded groundbreaking agreement recently reached between CNA and the Catholic Healthcare West (CHW) hospital chain covering some 3,500 RNs in Northern California. Now run by the Daughters of Charity, both St. Louise and Seton were until recently part of the CHW.

    Under the terms of the new agreement, which will be voted on by the nurses this week, RNs at both hospitals will see a 14 percent wage increase over the two years of the agreement.

    The new contract registers significant gains in retirement pension and healthcare provisions. For many nurses the pension benefit will increase as much as 30 percent.

    Increases were also made in the amount of educational leave available to RNs at both hospitals.

    An agreement was reached between the nurses and administrators at St. Louise for immediate improvement of nurse staffing in the Medical-Surgical unit when California's new CNA-sponsored nurse-to-patient staffing law goes into effect.

    "We worked hard to get this agreement and overall it is a good one,' said Critical Care nurse Marie Ames, RN. "We came away with real pension improvement and the wage hike - important in today's economy - conforms to community standards and puts us pretty much on the same level and other nurses in the Bay Area."

    "We feel we have made real progress with this agreement," said Intensive Care nurse Donna Fischer, RN. "Hospitals that work with the nurses to improve patient care staffing and provide better retirement benefits will be better able to attract and retain the staff now."
  13. by   Spidey's mom
    California is a huge and very diverse state . . . not a monolith.

    I'm with Gomer . . .. NOT a fan of unions. I've always felt perfectly capable of representing myself without paying someone else to do it for me.

    The hospital I work for is not unionized . . . although a union tried to get in a few years ago. We said NO.

    I'm in Northern Cal . .. way up north. North of Redding.

    steph
  14. by   Town & Country
    What is the typical pay for an RN with an Associate degree doing med/surg in CA?

    OK, big state: let's say in the Carmel/Santa Cruz area.

    Someone please tell me.
    Thank you.

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