Kaiser and Northern California nurses agree on 5-year labor contract

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The California Nurses Association and Kaiser Permanente have reached a tentative agreement on a five-year labor contract affecting more than 700 union nurses and nurse practitioners in Sonoma County.

The nurses union said the agreement calls for wage increases, additional help for nurses and the elimination of a proposed wage scale that would have paid some nurses less than others depending on geographic region.

“We accomplished all of the goals we set in this bargaining,” said Deborah Burger, CNA co-president and a registered nurse at Kaiser Permanente Santa Rosa Medical Center.

CNA said Kaiser agreed to withdraw a four-tier proposal for wage reductions for newly hired registered nurses and nurse practitioners in some Northern California regions.

The agreement affects 19,000 union nurses and nurse practitioners at 21 medical centers, clinics and medical offices in Northern and Central California.

The tentative contract calls for a 12 percent wage increase and 3 percent lump sum over five years. It also adds 600 nurse patient care coordinators — 40 in Santa Rosa — to the labor contract, the union said. Among other duties, patient care coordinators work as discharge planners and case managers.

Debora Catsavas, senior vice president of Kaiser Permanente human resources in Northern California, said the health care giant was “pleased” to have reached the agreement.

“This agreement reflects our respect for Kaiser Permanente nurses and the excellent care they provide to our patients and members.” Catsavas said. “It is aligned with our commitment to high quality care, affordability and being the best place to work in health care.”

Burger said nurses and nurse practitioners will be voting on the agreement through about mid-April.

You can reach Staff Writer Martin Espinoza at 707-521-5213 or martin.espinoza@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @renofish.

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