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Stanford Health, nurses reach tentative agreement to end strike

Five thousand striking nurses at Stanford Health Care and Stanford Children’s Health in California could return to work by Tuesday, if members of the nurses’ union approve a tentative agreement reached late Friday with the hospitals.

The tentative three-year contract negotiated by the Committee for the Recognition of Nursing Achievement union and Stanford Health Care and Stanford Children’s Health would end a strike that started Monday. Nurses will vote on the agreement Sunday, and results will be announced Monday, the union said.

Stanford had planned to stop paying its share of the premiums for striking workers’ employer-sponsored health plans starting May 1. But Stanford on Friday agreed there would be no disruptions to the medical benefits.

“Pending ratification, we truly look forward to welcoming our colleagues back on Tuesday,” Dale Beatty, chief nurse executive and vice president of patient care services for Stanford Health Care, and Jesus Cepero, senior vice president of patient care and chief nursing officer for Stanford Children’s Health, said in an emailed statement.

According to the union, the tentative agreement includes:

  • language to ensure staffing levels and pay will match patient acuity.
  • raises of 7% in 2022, 5% in 2023 and 5% in 2024.
  • additional access and funds for mental healthcare.
  • an extra week of vacation.
  • increased retiree medical benefits and student loan assistance.
  • faster responses to workplace violence.
  • no disruption to the no-cost medical plan for nurses and their families.

“From day one of our contract negotiations, CRONA nurses have been unified in our goals of improving staffing and making our profession more sustainable. We stood strong behind our demands for fair contracts that give us the resources and support we need to take care of ourselves, our families and our patients,” Colleen Borges, president of the nurses’ union and a pediatric oncology nurse at Stanford Children’s Health, said in a news release.

Contract negotiations began in January, and the previous contracts expired March 31. The parties brought in a federal mediator to aid in the bargaining process.

The Stanford strike is among of a handful of recent labor disputes at California hospitals.

More than 8,000 nurses and other healthcare workers at 15 Sutter Health sites in California recently held a one-day strike over concerns about staffing levels and health and safety standards. And 2,000 members of Service Employees Union International-United Healthcare Workers West who work at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles announced Friday they will go on strike May 9 over a contract with the not-for-profit hospital that ended March 31.

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