A tentative contract agreement was reached Thursday between the Department of Public Health and the union representing more than 2,000 San Francisco registered nurses.
The deal comes days after more than 100 nurses and their supporters shut down a Health Commission committee hearing at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital over staffing issues.
The nurses represented by SEIU Local 1021 and The City have been locked in contract negotiations since February. Last week, the nurses reported a “breakdown” in the negotiations, although an official impasse had not been declared.
The union is withholding details of the agreement until the new contract has been ratified by its members, but reported making progress this week on language over staffing levels, which had been a sticking point, among other issues.
“We will release details after they have been presented to the membership for ratification, but [the agreement] makes gains on our top priorities of reducing chronic understaffing and overuse of per diems,” said ZSFGH nurse and union executive board members Aaron Cramer, referring to temporary workers. “We look forward to continuing to hold the City’s feet to the fire to make sure our patients get the care they need.”
The San Francisco Examiner reported previously that The City and the union have had 20 bargaining sessions, including five under the oversight of a neutral mediator. As of Tuesday, The City had proposed a base wage hike of 11 percent over three years, including a 4 percent hike in the first year.
In a memo issued on Thursday, San Francisco Health Network Director Roland Pickens called the tentative agreement a “major accomplishment.”
“At the Health Department, we value our nurses. We recognize that nursing care is the
foundation of patient care,” said Pickens in the memo. “Patient safety is our top priority, and we could not deliver on that promise without our staff and per diem nurses, who care for patients every day.”
The union’s membership is expected to hold a vote to ratify the agreement in the coming days. If approved, the contract will move before the Board of supervisors for final approval.