After a Hard Fought Battle, Beverly Nurses Win their First Contract
Registered Nurses at Beverly Hospital ratified their first contract on May 2, 2012, winning protections for patient safety after a year of difficult bargaining that included a federal government decision to prosecute the employer for unlawful negotiation tactics.
“We worked long and hard to see this day,” said Susan Justin, RN. “We never gave up on protecting our patients and community. Now we have a contract that guarantees Beverly nurses a strong voice in patient care and improving our hospital.”
Beverly nurses voted in February, 2011 to join United Nurses Associations of California/Union of Health Care Professionals (UNAC/UHCP). Negotiations with Beverly Hospital management for a first contract began on May 5, 2011.
In March 2012, the National Labor Relations Board’s local regional office determined after a thorough investigation that it would prosecute Beverly Hospital for engaging in bad faith bargaining, including unlawful refusals to provide information needed for bargaining and other delaying tactics.
During negotiations the hospital also came under investigation by Cal-OSHA, following reports of a malfunctioning Code Blue system in Intensive Care, malfunctioning electrical outlets, mold and water damage in ICU, Telemetry and Maternal/Child units, and flooding.
Beverly nurses persisted in fighting for a contract that would improve their hospital. They held a rally, a candlelight vigil, and a community and online petition drive to win support. Coalitions of community, elected and labor leaders made frequent visits to the hospital to call for management to negotiate fairly with nurses for the good of the community.
“We’re pleased that our hard work has paid off in a contract that will protect Beverly Nurses in their role as patient advocates,” said Ken Deitz, UNAC/UHCP President.