Santa Clara County Reaches Deal with Nurses’ Union, Avoiding Strike

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Santa Clara County and its nurses’ union have tentatively reached a new contract deal that the union says prevented a strike of more than 3,000 workers throughout the county in 2020.

"Nurses showed our unity and were willing to strike to make sure County leaders did the right thing by demonstrating they value patient care and respect nurses," Registered Nurses Professional Association president Debbie Chang said in a statement Tuesday.

"Under our new contract we look forward to a new partnership with the county and continuing to deliver the highest quality care to our patients," Chang said.

After RNPA's old contracts expired Oct. 20, a deal was reached late Monday night, the union said. About 65 percent of the county's unionized nurses on Sunday had voted in favor of authorizing a labor strike in the new year if necessary.

The union said its bargaining team asked for more competitive wages and employee benefits to help retain workers, better pay for "difficult-to-hire shifts, weekends and hazardous areas," maintaining nurse-to-patient ratios, better working conditions for nurses by "promoting work-life balance" through more vacation time, and a stoppage of hiring newly-graduated nurses "at low wages with no job rights."

The contract is expected to be ratified in January and will last four years.

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