CHW, "We are pleased to have a contract that will increase our ability to recruit and

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    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/articl...6/BU261146.DTL
    Nurses OK new pact
    Fatter pension benefits and 14% pay raise provided
    George Raine, Chronicle Staff Writer
    Saturday, July 26, 2003
    2003 San Francisco Chronicle | Feedback
    URL: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/articl...6/BU261146.DTL
    Registered nurses at nine Catholic Healthcare West hospitals in Northern California have overwhelmingly approved a two-year master contract, their union, the California Nurses Association, said Friday.
    The CNA said the contract contains "dramatic gains in pension and pay."
    A Catholic Healthcare West spokesman, Terry Lightfoot, said the company, too, is gratified with the results. "We are pleased to have a contract that will increase our ability to recruit and retain nurses in the future," he said.
    The voting was 92 percent in favor of the contract, for which negotiations began in April, the CNA said. The pay increase is retroactive to July 1 and new pension benefits become effective Jan. 1.
    Improving pension benefits has been the union's primary goal in recent negotiations, because pensions are "at the center of our ability to attract and retain nurses," said Liz Jacobs, a CNA spokeswoman.
    She said the CNA has now negotiated pension improvements for 35,000 of the 50,000 registered nurses the union represents at 150 hospitals throughout the state.
    These pensions are defined, with guaranteed amounts of money, "since 401(k)s just don't cut it, certainly given everyone's experience with volatility in the market," Jacobs said.
    Pensions will be calculated on a formula using current age and years worked at Catholic Healthcare West. For example, a 52-year-old registered nurse with 10 years of service will be able to retire at age 65 with monthly payments that are nearly 30 percent of his or her current salary. A 26-year-old RN can retire at age 65 with 70 percent of his or her salary.
    The new contract pension improvement "rewards the career RNs for a lifetime of caring for others," CNA Executive Director Rose Ann DeMoro said.
    The contract also provides for a 14 percent pay increase over two years and what the union said are improved health care benefits and a ban on mandatory overtime.
    The Catholic Healthcare West hospitals covered in the master contract are: St. Mary's Medical Center and St. Francis Memorial Hospital in San Francisco; Dominican Hospital in Santa Cruz and Sequoia Hospital in Redwood City; and, in the Sacramento area, Mercy General Hospital, Methodist Hospital, Mercy San Juan Carmichael, Mercy Hospital of Folsom and Woodland Healthcare in Woodland.
    Pension benefits will also be extended to RNs at Bakersfield Memorial Hospital, another Catholic Healthcare West hospital whose RNs are represented by CNA.
    Lightfoot, the CHW spokesman, said the pension will be offered to all the company's RNs throughout California, Arizona and Nevada.
    E-mail George Raine at graine@sfchronicle.com.
    2003 San Francisco Chronicle | Feedback
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