By Sheri Williams
More than 18,000 registered nurses at University of California medical facilities across the state, including UC Davis, voted overwhelmingly in favor of ratifying a new three-year contract after a long fight.
The contract addresses key patient care and workplace safety issues while focusing resources to recognize, recruit, and retain nurses across facilities in the UC system. California is currently facing a serious shortage of medical professionals, making recruitment and retention especially important.
The contract includes a 16% wage increase across the board over the term of the deal, which goes through October 2025. The university also agreed to one-time payments of $3,000 each to career nurses, $2,000 to contingency nurses who work 50% or more of full-time and $1,000 to contingency nurses who worked less than 50% of full-time over the last year.
“UC nurses are proud to ratify our new contract with the University,” said Dahlia Tayag, an RN and bargaining team member who works at UC San Diego. “This agreement recognizes and rewards registered nurses for our service and commitment to our patients and communities across the UC system, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“UC nurses have been preparing for these negotiations and we were committed to winning the contract our members deserved,” continued Tayag. “The administration’s decision to prioritize investing in UC nurses resulted in this successor agreement, which will improve the patient care we provide.”
Highlights of the contract include improvements to patient care, workplace safety, and union rights, including protections from potential subcontracting of RN work.
The new agreement also creates two joint labor-management committees focused on key system-wide issues: one on Health, Safety, and Emerging Infectious Diseases and another on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
Benefit improvements include eight weeks of fully paid Family Care and Bonding leave and Juneteenth recognized as a holiday.
The contract also ensures there are no takeaways to health care, pension, or any other benefits protected by the previous contract.
“Nurses have been leaders throughout this pandemic,” said Tayag, who is also a member of the CNA Board of Directors. “With our new union contract, we have made major improvements for patient care, workplace safety, and union rights. This sets a new standard for RN contracts in California and beyond.”
The new agreement covers nurses who work at UC San Diego, UC San Francisco, UC Davis, UC Irvine, UCLA, UC Merced, UC Berkeley, UC Santa Cruz, UC Santa Barbara, and UC Riverside.
California Nurses Association/National Nurses United is the largest and fastest-growing union and professional association of registered nurses in the nation with 100,000 members in more than 200 facilities throughout California and more than 175,000 RNs nationwide.
California Nurses Association/National Nurses United (CNA/NNU) announced the new agreement in July.