SAN DIEGO — Nurses with Sharp HealthCare have overwhelmingly voted to ratify a new three-year contract after three months of negotiations.
“We’ve all been through so much during the last two-and-a-half years of this pandemic. We’re forever changed by that experience,” said Andrea Muir, vice president of Sharp Professional Nurses Network. “We let management know going in that this was not just another contract negotiation. We bargained a contract that recognizes our contributions and sacrifices during the pandemic, offers real solutions to RN turnover, and respects our need to speak up for our patients and the highest standards of care.”
According to a press release from the United Nurses Association of California/Union of Health Care Professionals (UNAC/UHCP), the main points from this new agreement include:
- Sharp will provide a no-cost option for full and part-time RNs to pursue a BSN degree beginning in 2023.
- Total wages increases with ATBS and wage grid steps of up to 36% during the three years of the contract—raising base pay for all RNs at Sharp HealthCare by $15 - $20 per hour over the next 24 months. Expected to have a huge impact on RN recruitment and retention.
- Across-the-board wage increases of 4% on October 1, 2022; 3.5% on October 1, 2023; and 4% on October 1, 2024.
- A wage grid with increases for experience every year for an RNs entire service with Sharp.
- Language that guarantees staffing levels—nurse-to-patient ratios—will not be reduced even if changes are made to California’s nurse staffing regulations in Title 22.
- Increased access to the RN Advisory Committee which gives nurses a forum to bring up and address patient care concerns in collaboration with management.
- Improved infectious disease notifications and new PPE protections.
- RNs assaulted or threatened in workplace will be allowed time off to recover without penalty to PTO or sick leave.
- Enhanced protections against harassment and discrimination, including language to reflect current law that prohibits discrimination because of race, including hair texture and hairstyles such as braids, locks, and twists.
- Increased union security: Sharp will now be a “union shop,” meaning all RNs covered by the contract are required to become union members or pay their fair share toward costs of representation.
- On-call pay of $15.50 per hour for nurses to be available for emergencies—among the highest in the country. This helps ensure enough RNs to care for patients in a crisis.
- Enhanced retirement and retiree medical benefits.
The Sharp Professional Nurses Network (SPNN) is an affiliate of the UNAC/UHCP. Sharp is the largest health care system in San Diego County, and SPNN represents about 5,000 registered nurses.
Electronic voting started on Saturday, Sept. 10 and ended at noon on Wednesday, Sept. 14. The results were released shortly after voting ended.