CHINO, CA—The registered nurses of Chino Valley Medical Center (CVMC) voted yesterday to approve their first union contract, featuring provisions that protect safe staffing ratios and the RNs’ ability to advocate for improvements to patient care. This is the culmination of a ten-year fight by these nurses to win a union contract and a voice in patient care at their hospital.
“Today is a really important day for the nurses of Chino Valley Medical Center,” said Sonia Chesterfield, RN, in the Medical-Surgical/Telemetry unit, who has worked at CVMC for seventeen years. “We stood together in solidarity, with strength and purpose. We were not afraid to stand up and fight for what’s right for our patients, our hospital and our community.”
The Chino Valley RNs’ first contract includes guaranteed wage increases plus safeguards for patient safety such as language to protect safe nurse-to-patient ratios; creation of a Registered Nurse Advisory Committee giving nurses an ongoing avenue to push for improvements to patient care; and language to guarantee that when nurses are “floated” to other units they have the proper training first.
The new contract comes at the end of a year-long negotiation between the registered nurses and Prime Healthcare, which began in January and saw a three-day strike in October; informational picketing in August; and support for the nurses from numerous elected officials at city and state levels.
Prime was finally compelled to negotiate by a July 2018 decision of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals which ordered management to recognize the union and bargain with the nurses. The RNs voted to join their union, United Nurses Associations of California/Union of Health Care Professionals (UNAC/UHCP) in 2010. Prime fought the will of the nurses through multiple decisions by the National Labor Relations Board until finally the federal court weighed in.
“I’m so happy for our nurses at Chino Valley today. The primary reason that nurses join a union is always to win a voice in patient care,” said Denise Duncan, RN, President of UNAC/UHCP, a nurse herself for more than 35 years. “When RNs are able to advocate for their patients, they can fight for the care those patients deserve. Being part of UNAC/UHCP will give the Chino Valley nurses a voice for not only patient safety, but worker safety. Jointly, we will fight to sustain and enforce our nurse-to-patient ratios.”
The Chino Valley RNs were supported in their fight by California State Senator Connie Leyva, SD 20; State Assemblymember Freddie Rodriguez, AD 52; and Pomona Mayor Tim Sandoval, all of whom joined the RNs on their strike line in October; as well as Eunice Ulloa, Mayor of the City of Chino, who sent a letter in September to the hospital in support of the nurses.
United Nurses Associations of California/Union of Health Care Professionals (UNAC/UHCP) represents more than 32,000 registered nurses and other health care professionals, including optometrists; pharmacists; physical, occupational and speech therapists; case managers; nurse midwives; social workers; clinical lab scientists; physician assistants and nurse practitioners. UNAC/UHCP is affiliated with the National Union of Hospital and Health Care Employees and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO.
Contact: Jeff Rogers, UNAC/UHCP Communications | firstname.lastname@example.org | 909-263-7230