California hospitals reach tentative agreement with RNs, avert strikes

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Three Hospital Corporation of America hospitals in Southern California reached a tentative contract agreement with SEIU 121RN, averting a planned 10-day strike starting Dec. 24, according to separate statements from the union and health system.

Registered nurses and licensed medical professionals at Los Robles Regional Medical Center in Thousand Oaks, West Hills Hospital and Medical Center in Los Angeles and Riverside Community Hospital authorized the strike Dec. 11. 

Since then, Nashville, Tenn.-based HCA and the union brought in a federal mediator and logged 102 hours of negotiations. Union members at the three hospitals still need to vote on the contract.

In a statement, SEIU 121RN said the tentative contract contains several notable provisions, including a guarantee for union members to immediately discuss and bargain over the hospitals' planned response within two weeks of a declared public health emergency and a commitment to hire dozens of RNs at each hospital. 

The tentative agreement comes after the union members' colleagues and the California Hospital Association urged them to cancel the planned strike amid a surge of COVID-19 hospitalizations in the region.

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