Friday, May 24, 2002
University of California Office of the President

Media Contacts:
Paul Schwartz
(510) 987-9924

UC reaches tentative agreement with CNA over contract for nurses; strike avoided

After several months of negotiations, the University of California and the California Nurses Association (CNA) reached a tentative agreement today (May 24) regarding a new three-year contract for UC's 8,000 nurses.

"We are very pleased that we were able to resolve the few remaining issues and reach an agreement that acknowledges the excellent work of our nurses", said Joseph P. Mullinix, senior vice president for business and finance. "This benefits everyone, especially patients."

On Wednesday, the University had presented the union with an offer designed to conclude negotiations. Among other things, it required that the union cancel its May 29th strike and drop its unfair practice charges. While still preserving the University's ability to financially reward performance through lump-sum awards, the proposal also stipulated that UC would eliminate its use of merit pay for nurses, a key union issue.

Today's tentative agreement, which is set for ratification June 3rd, parallels UC's prior offer. Specifically, the union has agreed to cancel immediately its May 29th strike and modify its position on RN-only staffing ratios. Instead of contract language regarding ratios, the parties agreed to establish joint UC-CNA committees at each UC medical center to advise UC hospital management on the implementation of next year's nurse staffing ratios and the role registered nurses will play in meeting them. The University agreed to eliminate merit pay for nurses, move them immediately to experience-based pay, and provide total wage increases averaging 19-25% over the next three years. Upon ratification, a complete copy of today's agreement will be available at: www.ucop.edu/humres/labor/nurse.html.

With the union's strike and unfair practice charges dropped, the University will withdraw its request for a temporary restraining order against the strike as well as drop its unfair labor charge against the union for calling a strike during bargaining.

The University employs approximately 8,000 nurses throughout the state. UC medical centers are consistently ranked among the best hospitals and are recognized for their excellent patient care and medical research. For more information about UC's health sciences, go to www.ucop.edu/healthaffairs/links.html



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