Santa Clara County and Nurses Union Announce Agreement on 4-year Contract

Santa Clara County and the union representing nurses at the county’s hospitals and clinics have reached agreement on a four-year contract, after months of negotiations, failed mediation efforts and a first-ever three-day strike last month.

The agreement was reached May 18, and the Registered Nurses Professional Association members voting through May 23 approved it with approximately 88% in favor. The agreement is headed to the Board of Supervisors on June 4 for final approval. The agreement was announced May 24 after the union vote.

In a joint statement, the nurses and the county said the agreement “reflects the shared commitment to the dedicated nurses who work in the county’s health system, which continues providing world-class care amidst the increasing demands of being the safety-net hospital system for all residents.”

More than 3,750 nurses are represented by the nurses union. The last contract expired last October. In negotiations, nurses said they called out issues such as short staffing and below-standard nurse-to-patient ratios.

Here are some of the highlights of the tentative agreement:

  • Nurses will receive a 15% raise over four years, including a total 6.5% raise in 2024. Each
    raise is compounded and is pensionable for life.
  • Emergency Department nurses at all hospitals will receive additional pay, a benefit the union said it had sought for over 10 years
  • A neutral third party with patient care expertise will resolve staffing ratio disputes.

Each side in the labor dispute released a prepared statement.

Registered Nurses Professional Association President Susie York called the agreement “a big step forward for Santa Clara County nurses and the patients we serve.”
Without providing details, York said the new contract includes improvements in pay and working conditions, and in nurses work schedules and nurse-to-patient ratios.

“We set the groundwork for better workplace safety practices,” York said in a statement.

County Executive James R. Williams said the agreement “represents our dedication to providing fair contracts for every staff member in our organization, including our nursing professionals…[and] upholds the county’s commitment to our hardworking nurses and to deliver excellent care to the community while balancing fiscal realities.”

In the past fiscal year, under the contract that expired in October, the county said its nurses have received approximately 42% in compounded salary increases, including a 13.3% wage increase.The average annual pay for a full-time union-represented member is $259,103 in wages, including average overtime and differential pays. The average total compensation including wages and benefits is $326,542, according to the county.


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