Nurses and their supporters picket near Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital in 2015. Signal photo by Katharine Lotze

Henry Mayo and nurses reach tentative agreement

A tentative agreement between Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital and its registered nurses has been made after an emergency meeting was held Tuesday night.

The hospital’s nurses and the California Nurses Association Union previously approved a strike that was set for April 25, after the group held multiple negotiation meetings with the hospital’s leadership team, but union representatives said Wednesday that a preliminary deal was reached so the strike is no longer necessary.

“The phenomenal nurses at Henry Mayo stood strong and fought,” said Bernita Jenkins, a California Nurses Association labor representative for the Henry Mayo hospital nurses. “They fought for patient safety and fair wages and we received much more.”

A statement from Henry Mayo sent on Wednesday said, “We are pleased that the California Nurses Association has withdrawn its strike notice and that we were able to work together to reach a new tentative agreement that will be good for our nurses, our patients, our hospital and our community. We look forward to the ratification of this new agreement.”

Once word spread of a possible deal, nurses began to gather at the Henry Mayo Center Wednesday night for a vote to ratify their agreement with the hospital.

Red and white balloons decorated the room as nurses enjoyed dinner and treats prior to the vote. A large number of those in attendance thanked negotiators for serving as their voice and helping the workers secure a wage increase, break staffing, and better access to their labor representatives, along with other compromises.

Nerissa Black, a registered nurse who’s worked at hospital since 2013, said she was prepared to head to Glendale on Tuesday to meet with the hospital administrators and a federal mediator.

“Tuesday morning, I went to work and I received a call,” Black said. “They pulled us off our jobs and we met with the administration Tuesday afternoon. We told the administration this is what nurses are asking for, and the admininistration agreed to meet our request. The agreement was signed by both parties at around 10:40 (p.m.) and we agreed to start meeting with nurses today to inform them what went on last night.”

Black added perhaps the greatest concession achieved in the negotiations was the hospital agreed to provide break nurses, which she believes will greatly increase the safety of the hospital’s patients.

“It’s similar to a child in day care and when teachers go on break,” Black said. “They wouldn’t leave kids unsupervised, so when nurses go on lunch break we also want to make sure there are licensed registered nurses while the regular nurse is away because complications can arise at any time.”

Black said, “I’m extremely happy to have a deal done,” and mentioned the more than 600 union members will continue to vote until a decision is made Friday night.

Registered Nurse Kelly Haghighi said negotiations can be tricky, but she is very confident Tuesday night’s agreement will be ratified by her peers.

“I’m very confident it’s going to pass,” Haghighi said during the vote. “We’ve had a quite few meetings and all the representatives have come together to help us boil it down and go to the table with the things we really, really need to keep us safe, to keep our patients safe and to best serve our community.”

Haghighi added, “Coming back, it’s nice to not have to worry about this and have it hang over you like a cloud.”

A tentative agreement between Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital and its registered nurses has been made after an emergency meeting was held Tuesday night.

The hospital’s nurses and the California Nurses Association Union previously approved a strike that was set for April 25, after the group held multiple negotiation meetings with the hospital’s leadership team, but union representatives said Wednesday that a preliminary deal was reached so the strike is no longer necessary.

“The phenomenal nurses at Henry Mayo stood strong and fought,” said Bernita Jenkins, a California Nurses Association labor representative for the Henry Mayo hospital nurses. “They fought for patient safety and fair wages and we received much more.”

A statement from Henry Mayo sent on Wednesday said, “We are pleased that the California Nurses Association has withdrawn its strike notice and that we were able to work together to reach a new tentative agreement that will be good for our nurses, our patients, our hospital and our community. We look forward to the ratification of this new agreement.”

Once word spread of a possible deal, nurses began to gather at the Henry Mayo Center Wednesday night for a vote to ratify their agreement with the hospital.

Red and white balloons decorated the room as nurses enjoyed dinner and treats prior to the vote. A large number of those in attendance thanked negotiators for serving as their voice and helping the workers secure a wage increase, break staffing, and better access to their labor representatives, along with other compromises.

Nerissa Black, a registered nurse who’s worked at hospital since 2013, said she was prepared to head to Glendale on Tuesday to meet with the hospital administrators and a federal mediator.

“Tuesday morning, I went to work and I received a call,” Black said. “They pulled us off our jobs and we met with the administration Tuesday afternoon. We told the administration this is what nurses are asking for, and the administration agreed to meet our request. The agreement was signed by both parties at around 10:40 (p.m.) and we agreed to start meeting with nurses today to inform them what went on last night.”

Black added perhaps the greatest concession achieved in the negotiations was the hospital agreed to provide break nurses, which she believes will greatly increase the safety of the hospital’s patients.

“It’s similar to a child in day care and when teachers go on break,” Black said. “They wouldn’t leave kids unsupervised, so when nurses go on lunch break we also want to make sure there are licensed registered nurses while the regular nurse is away because complications can arise at any time.”

Black said, “I’m extremely happy to have a deal done,” and mentioned the more than 600 union members will continue to vote until a decision is made Friday night.

Registered Nurse Kelly Haghighi said negotiations can be tricky, but she is very confident Tuesday night’s agreement will be ratified by her peers.

“I’m very confident it’s going to pass,” Haghighi said during the vote. “We’ve had a quite few meetings and all the representatives have come together to help us boil it down and go to the table with the things we really, really need to keep us safe, to keep our patients safe and to best serve our community.”

Haghighi added, “Coming back, it’s nice to not have to worry about this and have it hang over you like a cloud.”



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