La: Long Beach Memorial Hospital, Nurses Reach Accord

  1. From: Los Angeles Times

    Hospital, Nurses Reach Accord

    If approved, the pact would be the first for them at Long Beach Memorial and would increase pay and benefits for 1,300 people.

    By Bettina Boxall
    Times Staff Writer
    December 9 2002

    After years of tense labor relations and union organizing, one of the largest privately run hospitals on the West Coast has agreed to a contract that will increase pay and retirement benefits for 1,300 nurses.

    The accord between Long Beach Memorial Medical Center and the California Nurses Assn. is the first contract for Long Beach Memorial nurses, who started negotiations with the hospital in February and staged two one-day strikes this fall.

    "It's one of the most important hospitals in California," said David Johnson, Southern California director of the nurses association. "Nurses at Long Beach Memorial view this as a breakthrough that other nurses can emulate."

    Johnson said the contract, on which hospital nurses will vote Tuesday, creates a step salary system that ties pay to experience, calls for guaranteed employer contributions to the nurses' retirement plan and sets up a process to resolve staffing disputes.

    Hospital spokesman Brian Greene said the administration would not release details of the agreement before the nursing staff had been informed of it. In a statement, hospital Chief Executive Byron Schweigert said: "We're pleased that we have reached an agreement for a three-year contract with the CNA bargaining team. Both sides have agreed on nursing salaries as well as a defined contribution plan that will benefit our nurses in their retirement."

    Johnson said the average wage increase for nurses will total 21% over the life of the contract. The old profit-sharing retirement plan, in which hospital contributions varied depending on the institution's finances, will be replaced by guaranteed annual contributions ranging from 4% to 9% of salary. And unresolved disputes over staffing levels will be referred to arbitration, Johnson said.

    The contract settlement is part of a push to unionize hospital nurses in Southern California, where most registered nurses have not belonged to a union. One of five hospitals run by Memorial Health Services, Long Beach Memorial has 741 beds and, after Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, is the second largest privately operated hospital in the West. The agreement comes just days before nurses at Cedars-Sinai are scheduled to vote on whether to join the union.
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  3. by   SandyB
    Sounds great...but...I know a nurse who works there ( on medical leave right now) and what she is hearing is that the staffing has been terrible since the first strike. On her floor they used to have aides and then teams of RN/LVN who only took 5pts between they have no aides and take 8 is a step down tele and they do drips, like nitro for cp. If I hear it really is better now with the contract signed I'll let ya all know.
    Last edit by SandyB on Dec 11, '02