OCEANSIDE ---- Now that Tri-City Medical Center's 700 registered nurses have unionized, big changes could be in store for the hospital that covers Oceanside, Carlsbad and Vista, according to a union official.
The hospital's registered nurses joined the California Nurses Association this week, becoming the last among North County's three big hospitals to unionize. Registered nurses at Palomar Pomerado Health in Escondido and Poway voted to join the association in 2002, while nurses at Scripps Memorial Hospital in Encinitas joined in 2003.
The association and the hospital will begin drafting a contract that could result in changes in salaries and give nurses more say in the way patients are cared for, according to Roy Hong, an association organizer who helped Tri-City nurses in unionizing.
"Basically, we are starting from scratch," he said, adding that union contracts typically include as many as 35 provisions.
Negotiations between union and Tri-City officials could take several months to a year, Hong said.
Mark Weinberg, Tri-City's vice president of human resources, said Thursday that it's unclear what could come out of negotiations.
"We will certainly bargain the wages and hours and other terms and conditions for employment," he said. "I have absolutely no idea (of the specific issues that union leaders) have in mind."
Hospital board members could not be reached Thursday for comment.
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