Section: News

Queen Of The Valley Medical Center To Keep Doors Open During A Nurses’ Union Strike


Hospital Expresses Support for RNs, Affirms Uninterrupted Care for Patients

California Nurses Association Calls Strikes at Other Hospitals on Same Day

(Napa, CA) – Queen of the Valley Medical Center announced today that it has received notice from the California Nurses Association union ("CNA union") that it plans to conduct a 24-hour strike against the hospital beginning at 7:00 a.m. on Thursday, August 14, 2014.

"It is important for our patients and their families to know that our doors will remain open and the high quality of care they expect and deserve will not be compromised. The CNA union's actions in no way impact our valued relationship with our nurses or the well-being of our patients and the safe, compassionate care they consistently receive here," said Suki Stanton, Chief Nursing Officer and Vice President, Patient Care Services.

The hospital has been negotiating with the CNA union since September, 2013 to reach a first contract, and progress is being made. Tentative agreements have been reached on 28 articles and a bargaining continues with a session scheduled for Tuesday, August 5, 2014. First contract negotiations typically take 18 months on average to negotiate.

"Given that our staffing and meal break proposals set forth the state-mandated staffing ratios and requirements supported by the union and agreed to in three other St. Joseph/CNA ratified contracts, and that our pay proposal increases will keep our nurses current wage structure in the top 75th percentile of their peer market, the CNA union's intent to strike other hospitals in Northern California on the same day as the Queen may involve a larger, unrelated agenda," said Robert Eisen, St. Joseph Health's Regional Vice President, Human Resources.

"While it is unfortunate the CNA has elected to strike at this time, we are prepared to continue negotiations

and reach a fair agreement. Our commitment to our mission, our nurses and our community is unwavering,"

said Stanton.

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Please find attached the Hospital's July 23, 2014 Bargaining Update to Queen of the Valley CNA-represented RNs.

Please note that the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA, requires specific security standards for all hospitals. These Federal security standards set forth protections for all hospital information to maintain patient privacy. In keeping with these privacy laws, media are not permitted onto hospital grounds to conduct interviews or film staff, patients or visitors without proper authorization and an escort.

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Bargaining Update July 23, 2014

As you likely know, the CNA is calling for a strike authorization vote tomorrow, July 24. It is a right afforded under our federal labor laws. It is a right we respect. It is a right that should not be taken lightly. Whether you feel this action is warranted now is up to you to decide. To contribute to your ability to make an informed decision when you cast your vote, please find the following information:

We Are Making Good Progress at the Table and Bargaining Continues: Negotiations began on September 10, 2013 – just 10 months ago – and to date we have reached tentative agreements on 28 Articles including, importantly, Benefits, Holidays, Grievance Procedures, Professional Practice Committee, Safe Patient Handling, Union Rights and Management Rights. Our last bargaining session was July 15, and QVMC provided the CNA with a package proposal on all remaining open items. The next bargaining session is scheduled for July 31.

We Have a Shared Commitment to Safe Staffing for Our Patients and Our Nurses: Please note that we have proposed staffing language similar to that contained in the three other St. Joseph Health/CNA ratified contracts. Our proposed language sets forth the state-mandated staffing ratios supported by the union.

We Have a Shared Commitment to Providing Fair and Equitable Pay and Benefits: A good sign of our progress is that with most of the non-economic issues agreed to, we have been able to turn our attention to the important matter of your pay (per the above, benefits have been agreed to). We now are actively bargaining your wages and have given CNA a wage proposal that includes two additional step increases for a total of 20 steps. Our most current proposal also included a 33% increase in standby/on call pay rates as compared to our June 7 proposal. This current proposal equates to a $17.00/hour rate, not the $11 hourly rate the CNA communicated. Our Nurses' current wage structure pays in the top 75th percentile of their peer market – a demonstration of our commitment – a commitment we fully intend to keep. A further demonstration of our commitment of providing a fair and just workplace is that the current value of our total compensation package with benefits for a full time nurse is over $180,000.00.

Our Strong Preference is to Reach an Agreement That You Can be Proud of and Support and That Furthers Our Mission as Soon as Possible – In Part Because it Means More Money in Your Pocket. First contracts often take longer to negotiate than subsequent ones – the average time: 18 months. For us, that timeframe would equate to a spring 2015 ratification scenario. We stand ready to do what it takes to reach an agreement sooner than the average first-contract negotiations timeframe. We want you to benefit from the improvements we are offering and support. (You may recall that when we provided the 2 percent across-the-board pay increase to Hospital staff in October last year, we offered to provide you with the same, but the union rejected it.)

We hope this information is helpful to you as you carefully consider whether authorizing a strike is warranted at this time. Again, our preference is to continue bargaining in good faith and to reach an agreement – constructively and collaboratively with the union – without you or our Hospital having to experience any hardships. We remain committed to this process, and most importantly, we remain committed to you.

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