The Committee for Recognition of Nursing Achievement (CRONA) reached a tentative agreement with Stanford Health Care and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital on Friday.
The agreement is multipronged, with the most substantive changes including an increase in base wage rates, a staffing system more reflective of patient acuity and increased mental health support.
It comes almost a week after Stanford nurses began striking over fairer nursing contracts. The strike followed months of strained negotiations between CRONA and the hospitals, with nurses calling for wages reflecting the high cost of living in the Bay Area and an improved staffing system that prioritizes their mental health. The stress of COVID-19 has only exacerbated these concerns, according to nurses.
Union members voted on whether to authorize the agreement on Sunday, with the results of the vote set to be released on Monday morning.
The proposed wage increase would take place over two years, beginning retroactively on April 1 with a 5% increase in base rate pay. This would be followed by a 2% increase on Dec. 1, a 5% increase in April 2023 and a 5% increase in April 2024, according to the agreement.
The contract also reworks the current staffing system in place, creating a system more tailored to the different units in which nurses work. Staffing would be based on patient needs, and the hospitals would commit to ensuring that nurses with patients who require intensive care can take additional breaks, according to the agreement. Additionally, nurses in units such as the ICU that have been historically difficult to staff would also be eligible for more pay.
The agreement also commits Stanford hospitals to expanding the Employee Assistance Program to provide better mental health support for nurses. Stanford hospitals would contribute $1,000 to nurses savings accounts who are eligible for support to expand accessibility, according to the agreement.
CRONA president and registered nurse Colleen Borges expressed appreciation for the “patients, community members, and elected officials” who supported nurses during their strike, emphasizing that the agreement is reflective of the compensation Stanford nurses deserve in a Saturday press release sent to The Daily.
“We stood strong behind our demands for fair contracts that give us the resources and support we need to take care of ourselves, our families and our patients,” Borgees wrote in the release. “We are proud to provide world-class patient care – and are glad the hospitals have finally listened to us.”