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Petaluma hospital nurses OK labor contract

Nurses at Petaluma Valley Hospital have approved a new labor agreement with St. Joseph Health, which runs the hospital, the California Nurses Association announced Wednesday.

The deal gives nurses 2 percent annual pay raises for three years but also reduces their standby pay, a St. Joseph's official said.

The CNA represents about about 170 nurses at Petaluma Valley Hospital. The union contract also was approved by more than 900 union nurses at two other St. Joseph hospitals, St. Joseph Hospital in Eureka and St. Mary Medical Center in Apple Valley.

"At Petaluma, we achieved new local language that will help us ensure that the level of care needed for each individual patient is adhered to and make the hospital safer for nurses and patients," Anna Bruno, a surgery RN who was part of the union's negotiating team, said in a statement.

Debra Miller, vice president of human resources for St. Joseph Health in Sonoma County, said the union notified her Tuesday the contract had been approved.

"We're very pleased that CNA and the hospital were able to collaboratively resolve their labor dispute and we're looking forward to working together over the course of this three-year contract," Miller said.

The contract expires in June 2016.

Nurses currently get 50 percent of their regular hourly wage when they're on standby status. The hospital sought to reduce that pay to 30 percent of the regular wage, but ultimately agreed to switch to a flat rate for on-call status: $28 an hour the first year and $26.50 in the ensuing two years.

"That does represent a savings to the hospital," said Miller.

Nurses also agreed to increase their contributions for health insurance coverage.

Members of Local 39 Operating Engineers also ratified their new agreement with St. Joseph, Miller said. Local 39 represents building equipment workers at Memorial Hospital in Santa Rosa and Petaluma Valley Hospital.

Miller said she hopes the agreement with CNA will "help resolve" the ongoing dispute with nurses at Memorial Hospital, who are represented by the Santa Rosa-based Staff Nurses Association.


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