Business Journal: Mercy Strike Could Be Averted

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(Sacramento, CA)
Friday, October 30, 2009
Catholic Healthcare West is apparently close to a deal with its 16,000 registered nurses, including 2,300 in the Sacramento region.  The deal would end the immediate threat of a massive — and possibly lengthy — strike.
CHW officials and representatives of the California Nurses Association are holding round-the-clock negotiations to reach a deal and end eight months of talks. Nurses are prepared to strike, with 95 percent favoring the last-ditch move after an extension of the current contract ended Thursday.
Now, both sides are discussing the usual issues, such as pay, health care benefits and staffing ratios — but something else is part of the mix: the H1N1 flu, also known as swine flu. Nurses are concerned about the health of patients, themselves and their families and want CHW to offer appropriate equipment and clothing to protect against the highly contagious flu.
CHW officials say they are complying with health care requirements and taking extra steps to protect everyone, including nurses, against the flu.