Press Release: Nurses win patient safety improvements in their Union contract with Barlow Respiratory Hospital in L.A.

For Immediate Release:
April 4, 2019

CONTACT:
Terry Carter, (805) 312-0024

Los Angeles, California—The Registered Nurses at Barlow Respiratory Hospital reached a tentative agreement today with the hospital. Under the three-year agreement, RNs pushed for and won important contract language on safe staffing levels.

“We used our bargaining sessions to reach an agreement with hospital management on key issues that directly impact the safety of our patients,” said Claude D’Netto, an RN who served on the Union’s bargaining team. “For example, we now have a strong commitment from the hospital—guaranteed in contract language—to carefully follow California’s groundbreaking nurse-to-patient ratio regulations.”

Now, if a Monitor Technician or other support staff member calls in sick, RNs have a commitment from the hospital to call in extra staff instead of giving those duties to the Charge Nurse. This means Charge Nurses won’t be pulled from their important duties to keep the unit properly staffed, make sure new RNs get all the training they need, provide assistance to RNs with invasive bedside procedures, respond to emergencies, bring supplies, directly assist the doctor, and—most importantly—provide constant backup and advice to assist RNs in identifying exactly what’s wrong with a patient.

RNs will also no longer have to double-up on their patient load to cover each other for meals and breaks.

Additionally, Nurses negotiated the hospital’s first-ever wage scale based on years of experience.

“This was hugely important, because both RNs and hospital management were looking for ways to attract and retain experienced RNs,” said D’Netto. “We have high turnover at the hospital, which means too much of our time and attention is spent training and assisting a constant flow of recent grads. I really enjoy training, but we need more balance between new and experienced RNs.”

The tentative agreement will now go before the entire membership for a ratification vote scheduled for April 9th and 10th.

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Service Employees International Union, Local 121RN represents 9,000 registered nurses and other healthcare professionals at 27 hospitals and facilities in Los Angeles and surrounding counties. This member-led organization is committed to supporting optimum working conditions that allow nurses to provide quality patient care and safety.

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