12/30/07

Nurses fed up with strikes, move to decertify

Registered nurses at Fremont-Rideout Health Group staged two strikes following months of failed contract negotiations with the administration of Rideout Memorial Hospital in Marysville and Fremont Medical Center in Yuba City.

Both strikes were called by the California Nurses Association union in the name of better patient safety and nurse-floating policies, cost of living increases and uniform benefits for all nurses.

Fremont-Rideout Health Group administrators said they are willing to negotiate and offered a 5.5 percent raise for the first year and a 5 percent raise for the second year of a two-year contract. The administration said it will address language over patient care and state-mandated nurse to patient ratios.

In July, a majority of the eligible nurses voted 90 percent in favor of a strike. More than 200 nurses participated in the August strike.

A one-day strike took place in August and a two-day strike occurred in mid-October. The second strike coincided with a walkout at 12 Bay Area hospitals in the Sutter Health Group.

Three months later, a group of nurses at the Feather River Surgery Center opted to withdraw from union representation. A subsequent hospital-wide registration drive was held to collect signatures to decertify the union.

The decertifying election is awaiting decisions from the National Labor Relations Board. The contract is still under negotiation. Both parties hope to sit down during the first week of 2008.

(appeal-democrat.com)

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