The registered nurses of Chino Valley Medical Center ratified their first union contract Thursday with provisions that protect safe staffing ratios and their ability to advocate for improvements to patient care.

This is the culmination of a 10-year fight to win a union contract and a voice in patient care at their hospital, said a spokesman for the United Nurses Associations of California/Union of Health Care Professionals (UNAC/UHCP). 

“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 the hospital for 17 years.

“We stood together in solidarity, with strength and purpose,” she said. “We were not afraid to stand up and fight for what’s right for our patients, our hospital and our community.”

The 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 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, said the union spokesman. Chino Valley Medical Center CEO Tim Moran said he’s pleased a contract has been reached. “I’m looking forward to do quality work with our nursing staff. 

He said nurses will receive a 2 1/2 percent increase in each of the next three years, and merit raises are no longer going to take place. 

The three-year 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 and informational picketing in August.

Prime Healthcare was 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, said the spokesman.

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