UC nurses picket
UC nurses picket. Courtesy California Nurses Association/National Nurses United

The California Nurses Association and the University of California have agreed on a new three-year contract that was ratified by a majority of the more than 17,000 nurses who work in UC medical and student health facilities, both sides announced Saturday.

The agreement takes effect immediately and will run through Oct. 31, 2025. The prior contract was set to expire this fall.

“We believe this agreement recognizes the dedication, professionalism, and quality of our nursing staff, and the extraordinary challenges they have faced for more than two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Letitia Silas, UC’s executive director of systemwide labor relations. “We send our heartfelt appreciation and thanks to all our nurses for their outstanding service to UC and our communities.”

Silas added that the agreement “also shows that successful contract negotiations can be collaborative and mutually respectful, and we thank CNA for its partnership.”

Dahlia Tayag, an RN and bargaining team member who works at UC San Diego, said UC nurses are “proud to ratify our new contract with the university. This agreement recognizes and rewards registered nurses for our service and commitment to our patients and communities across the UC system, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“UC nurses have been preparing for these negotiations and we were committed to winning the contract our members deserved,” Tayag continued. “The administration’s decision to prioritize investing in UC nurses resulted in this successor agreement, which will improve the patient care we provide.”

The deal includes the following across-the-board salary increases:

  • 6% wage increase effective Jan. 1, 2023
  • 5% wage increase effective Jan. 1, 2024
  • 5% wage increase effective Jan. 1, 2025

According to the union, the deal includes additional increases for UC San Diego and UC Irvine.

It also includes one-time recognition payments of $3,000 for career nurses, $2,000 per diem for nurses who worked 50%-time or more, and $1,000 for those who worked less than 50%-time over the last year.

Other highlights include:

  • Effective Jan. 1, 2023, UC will increase paid leave for family care and bonding from 70% to 100% for eight weeks.
  • UC and CAN will form a new systemwide labor-management committee to discuss diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • UC and CNA will form a new systemwide labor-management committee to discuss health and safety issues associated with emerging infectious diseases like COVID-19.
  • Nurses will enjoy continued access to health insurance, including a choice of medical plans and dental and vision insurance, with UC covering most of the cost of the monthly premiums.
  • Nurses will continue to be eligible for retirement benefits; newly hired nurses will choose between UC’s pension plan and a 401(k)-style option.

The agreement covers nurses who work at UC San Diego, UC Riverside, UCLA, UC Irvine, UC San Francisco, UC Davis, UC Merced, UC Berkeley, UC Santa Cruz, and UC Santa Barbara.

— City News Service