1/20/08

Strike-happy union finally allows contract vote

Nurses will vote late this month whether to accept contract terms Fremont-Rideout Medical Group has called its "last, best and final" offer.

Up to 450 nurses will vote Jan. 28-29 on the proposal, which Fremont-Rideout management unveiled earlier this month. A "yes" vote would end months of contract wrangling that included two strikes last year.

Dan Lawson, a representative of the California Nurses Association, confirmed the vote Friday. Results are to be announced the evening of Jan. 29.

CNA-represented nurses and Fremont-Rideout officials have battled over pay increases, benefits and the "floating" of nurses from one department to another during times of low staffing.

The hospital group said its latest offer, which it released Jan. 8, would improve nurses' benefits, add employer matches to the 403b retirement plan and provide employee discounts for hospital services.

Meanwhile, the nurses' union has lodged a complaint against Fremont-Rideout with the National Labor Relations Board. The complaint alleges management failed to bargain in good faith and interrogated nurses about whether they would take part in the first strike, on Aug. 31.

A hearing on the union's complaint is set for March 3 in Sacramento.

(appeal-democrat.com)

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