El Camino Health and the hospital’s nurses union have inked a new contract with historically high pay raises for nurses after just three months of negotiations.
“This was a pretty straightforward negotiation,” said union president and chief negotiator John McClure. “I didn’t feel like we were ever going to get to a point where we had to reach impasse.”
McClure said his union, Professional Resource for Nurses, is unique in that it’s only made up of El Camino Health nurses, “so we understand the issues that are going on around the organization,” he said.
The current contract between the union and the hospital expires June 30, and the new three-year contract was finalized June 15. It most notably includes a 16% pay increase for nurses spread out over the next three years.
The last time the two parties brokered a contract in 2019, negotiations lasted months after the previous contract had expired. The impasse led to picketing demonstrations and reached a point where the union voted to authorize a strike, though that was ultimately averted.
“For this one specifically, I felt like it went much more smoothly, simply because I felt like we came to the table with an open mind,” McClure said of the recent negotiations.
El Camino Health CEO Dan Woods said in a statement that the quick and smooth negotiation process reflects on the two parties’ professionalism, and is “a testament to our strong commitment to our nurses as well as our patients, who choose to seek care at El Camino Health.”
“The contract with PRN continues El Camino Health’s practice of providing hospital nurses with competitive pay and benefits and recognizes their dedication toward El Camino Health’s patients by delivering exceptional care every day,” Woods added.
McClure said the 16% pay raise is a “historic increase.” Nurses will receive a 6% raise this fiscal year, 5% next year and 5% for the final year of the contract, which expires June 30, 2026.
Compared to the last contract, which was a four-year agreement, this raise is much more substantial. McClure said the last contract gave nurses a 13% raise spread out over the four years.
The new contract also includes protections for night shift nurses, scheduling changes that will give nurses more flexibility and changes to the hospital’s bereavement policy, McClure said.
“The hospital listened to our concerns, we listened to theirs,” he said. “I feel like it was a very great, collaborative approach to negotiations this time.”