FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 14, 2022
SAN DIEGO —The registered nurses of Sharp HealthCare have voted overwhelmingly to ratify a new three-year contract after more than three months of difficult negotiations.
The new contract wins Sharp nurses new avenues to advocate for safe staffing and patient care, as well as substantial wage increases that will now compensate Sharp RNs at rates similar to UCSD and Kaiser Permanente. This should help recruit new nurses to Sharp HealthCare, keep experienced nurses at the bedside, and begin to reverse RN turnover rates, which climbed to nearly 17% in 2021-2022.
“We’ve all been through so much during the last two-and-a-half years of this pandemic. We’re forever changed by that experience,” said Andrea Muir, RN, MSN-ED, vice president of Sharp Professional Nurses Network (SPNN). “We let management know going in that this was not just another contract negotiation. We bargained a contract that recognizes our contributions and sacrifices during the pandemic, offers real solutions to RN turnover, and respects our need to speak up for our patients and the highest standards of care.”
Highlights of the new agreement include:
- Language that guarantees staffing levels—nurse-to-patient ratios—will not be reduced even if changes are made to California’s nurse staffing regulations in Title 22.
- Increased access to the RN Advisory Committee which gives nurses a forum to bring up and address patient care concerns in collaboration with management.
- Improved infectious disease notifications and new PPE protections.
- RNs assaulted or threatened in workplace will be allowed time off to recover without penalty to PTO or sick leave.
- Enhanced protections against harassment and discrimination, including language to reflect current law that prohibits discrimination because of race, including hair texture and hairstyles such as braids, locks, and twists.
- Across-the-board wage increases of 4% on October 1, 2022; 3.5% on October 1, 2023; and 4% on October 1, 2024.
- A wage grid with increases for experience every year for an RNs entire service with Sharp.
- Total wages increases with ATBS and wage grid steps of up to 36% during the three years of the contract—raising base pay for all RNs at Sharp HealthCare by $15 – $20 per hour over the next 24 months. Expected to have a huge impact on RN recruitment and retention.
- Increased union security: Sharp will now be a “union shop,” meaning all RNs covered by the contract are required to become union members or pay their fair share toward costs of representation.
- On-call pay of $15.50 per hour for nurses to be available for emergencies—among the highest in the country. This helps ensure enough RNs to care for patients in a crisis.
- Enhanced retirement and retiree medical benefits.
- Sharp will provide a no-cost option for full and part-time RNs to pursue a BSN degree beginning in 2023.
The Sharp Professional Nurses Network (SPNN), the union representing almost 5,000 Sharp RNs at the bargaining table, held a series of meetings where the nurses reviewed the details of the agreement and then voted online. The vote results were announced shortly after voting closed at noon today and electronic votes were tabulated.
SPNN is an affiliate of UNAC/UHCP.
SPNN RNs from the bargaining team are available for TV, radio, and print interviews to discuss the new contract.
The Sharp Professional Nurses Network (SPNN) is an affiliate of the United Nurses Associations of California/Union of Health Care Professionals (UNAC/UHCP) which represents 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.