June 2, 2020
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Photo courtesy of the California Nurses Association.

After a lengthy negotiation process and even a strike notice, the registered nurses at Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital voted to ratify a new three year contract with hospital management.

“We are pleased that the California Nurses Association has withdrawn its strike notice and that we were able to work together to reach a new tentative agreement that will be good for our nurses, our patients, our hospital and our community,” Henry Mayo Director of Marketing, Public Relations and Community Engagement Patrick Moody said.

The new collective bargaining agreement — which covers 650 of the hospital’s registered nurses who are members of the California Nurses Association, an affiliate of National Nurses United — addresses several concerns the nurses raised over staffing and rest breaks.

“The new agreement states clearly that the staffing of hospital patients care units must be based on census, acuity and staffing ratios and in a manner to ensure nurses are relieved for their meal and rest periods,” Nerissa Black, a Henry Mayo registered nurse and negotiator for the union, said.

The agreement includes language that addresses legally mandated meal and rest breaks for the nurses, more access to union representatives in the facility, improved protection against discipline for new nurses and language protecting them against workplace violence.

“The agreement is the result of great mobilization, with our nurses coming together in solidarity to win an agreement for all our nurses,” case manager and nurse Susan Salkeld said. “Our young nurses, in particular, fought to ensure that their more senior colleagues received gains that were fair and equitable.”

It also includes pay increases starting at nine percent up to a maximum of 20 percent over the three-year term of the contract. In addition, a joint committee comprised of both registered nurses and management will be formed to ensure all nurses receive their legally mandated meals and breaks.

Alyssa Ernstmeyer, who works in Henry Mayo’s intensive care unit, sees the agreement as not just a document that protects the nurses’ rights as workers, but also as the product of their advocacy.

“The new agreement is a testament to what nurses united can achieve with strong advocacy and when we raise our collective voice,” Alyssa Ernstmeyer said. “I am so proud of my colleagues who made a stand for what is right for our patients and our profession.”

The registered nurses at Henry Mayo had originally planned to strike on April 25 if negotiations failed to yield an agreement. However, both the nurses and hospital officials met on Tuesday in a last-minute attempt to avoid the strike — which they ultimately did.

“Our nurses are glad we reached an agreement, but were prepared to strike for their colleagues and patients,” medical-surgical unit nurse Charles Lucero said. “Thankfully, management removed the takeaways and negotiated in good faith.”          

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Henry Mayo officials, nurses agree on new contract to avoid strike
Article Name
Henry Mayo officials, nurses agree on new contract to avoid strike
After long and contentious negotiations, registered nurses at Santa Clarita's Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital reached a deal with hospital management.
Publisher Name
The Santa Clarita Valley Proclaimer
Sebastian Cazares

Sebastian Cazares is a lifelong Santa Clarita resident and student at College of the Canyons. He was heavily involved in Speech, Model UN, Rotary Club and journalism during his high school years. Sebastian is deeply interested in local politics and excited to report on the issues that impact his community.

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