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Tentative Deal Reached to Avert Nurses Strike at Stanford and Lucile Packard Hospitals

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A deal to avert a strike by nurses at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital (above) and Stanford Hospital was reached April 30, 2019.  (Courtesy of Stanford Medicine)

The union representing nearly 4,000 nurses at Stanford Hospital and Lucile Packard Children's Hospital has reached a tentative contract agreement with hospital management, averting a strike authorized by its members several weeks ago.

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The two sides announced the three-year deal on Tuesday morning. It includes wage increases, bonuses and improved workplace violence prevention plans.

"Our nurses showed the hospital our strength in unity and stayed committed to each other and stood strong for our patients," said Colleen Borges, president of the union, the Committee for Recognition of Nursing Achievement (CRONA). "The hospitals listened to us because they had to."

Union members are scheduled to vote on the contract on May 8. If a simple majority backs the tentative agreement, it will be ratified.

Negotiations for a deal began in late January. On March 31, the nurses' contract expired with the two hospitals. Two weeks later, more than 80 percent of CRONA's members voted to authorize a walkout.

After the strike authorization vote, a federal mediator joined the talks, which intensified over the weekend.

The deal announced Tuesday includes a base wage increase of 3% per year for three years, along with a 1% retention bonus for workers who stay on through the first year of the contract. It also allots extra pay for nurses who have certifications in certain specialties. Nurses are also set to receive more in medical retirement benefits.

Currently, the average base wage for CRONA-represented nurses is $82 an hour at Stanford Hospital and $83 an hour at Lucille Packard, according to the union.

The agreement, which comes just over a month after a nurse was attacked and severely injured at Stanford Hospital, also includes new workplace violence prevention language. Under the deal, nurses can be reassigned if they are threatened or assaulted by a patient or a relative of a patient. If approved, the hospitals will conduct safety training for all nurses on workplace violence prevention and de-escalation techniques.

"We know that workplace violence is an issue for nurses, not only at Stanford and Packard, but it's an issue everywhere," Borges said. "We fought hard to get protections for our nurses."

A representative for the two hospitals praised the deal.

"We greatly appreciate the hard work and dedication of the bargaining teams throughout this process and look forward to the ratification vote," Lisa Kim, a spokeswoman for Stanford Health Care, said in an emailed statement. "We are committed to our nurses and hope they agree that the highly competitive terms and market leading wages contained in the tentative agreements are something they can be proud of and support."

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