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Hazel Hawkins Nurses' New Contract Includes Creation of Safety Committees Along With a Wage Hike

Analysis  |  By Carol Davis  
   August 01, 2022

The new collective bargaining agreement was ratified by 98% of the hospital's RNs.

RNs at Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital in Hollister, California, not only got a wage increase with the ratification of a new four-year contract, but they also bargained for and got new safety committees in which they’ll have representation.

The new collective bargaining agreement, which was ratified by 98% of the hospital’s RNs, provides a 12.5% across-the-board wage increase, beginning with 3.5% in the first year of the new agreement.

They also will receive gains in shift differentials, standby pay, charge nurse pay, and creation of the Staff Nurse IV position.

Under the new contract, an Infectious Disease Task Force, with RN representation, will create mitigation plans in the event of an infectious disease outbreak, epidemic, or pandemic that affects the hospital, according to a news release issued by the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United.

A Workplace Violence Prevention Committee also will be created under the contract to address workplace violence concerns and update current policies in accordance with California’s Workplace Violence Prevention Act. Two seats on this committee will be filled by RNs.

The contract also recognizes Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Juneteenth as federal holidays and expansion of protected categories and inclusion of language to protect any RN who reports acts of discrimination.

“Winning a strong contract means improvements for nursing staff that helps ensure nurses who work here and live here can stay in Hollister,” said Sonia Duran, RN, a member of the bargaining team. “As the only acute care facility in San Benito County, investing in retention and recruitment of nursing staff is crucial to continue to provide quality healthcare for our community.”

Staff nurses applauded the new contract, as well.

“As we dive into year three of the pandemic, nurses have been advocating for better protections and protocols to keep us and our patients safe,” said Courtney Parrinello, RN.

“I am excited about our new contract,” she said, “which will create avenues for us to continue to help mitigate infectious disease outbreaks in our facility and push for safe patient care.”

Carol Davis is the Nursing Editor at HealthLeaders, an HCPro brand.

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