Nurses at Hemet Valley Medical Center reach tentative collective bargaining agreement

HEMET – Registered nurses at Hemet Valley Medical Center in southern Riverside County have reached a tentative agreement on a new three-year collective bargaining agreement that will provide economic improvements while rebuffing reductions in contract protections, the California Nurses Association and National Nurses United announced.

Registered nurses in Hemet voted on the proposed agreement in membership meetings at the hospital. Certified nursing assistants represent 300 nurses at the facility.

The association expressed relief at the agreement in which they staved off hospital management efforts to erode restrictions on unsafe clinical assignments and their ability to take needed time off. The settlement is especially gratifying, they said, after years of financial turmoil at the former district hospital that is now operated by Physicians for Healthy Hospitals and KPC Global.

Under the agreement, the nurses will receive pay gains of 5 percent over the next three years on the years of experience wage grid. Specialty care nurses, who are not on the employer-sponsored health plan, will see a significant additional increase to correct past pay disparities. Compensation at the hospital has been lagging behind nurses at other hospitals in the region, they said, which has made it difficult to retain experienced nurses and recruit new nurses.

In addition, the nurses won contract language that accords with current California law requiring safe patient handling measures to protect patients from falls and accidents and to reduce nurse workplace injuries.

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