While Unit 17 continues to negotiate with the State, our bargaining team is making sure that the voices and needs of Registered Nurses are a priority at the table.

Today’s bargaining session began with our Subject Matter Experts (SMEs). Two nurse practitioners joined the bargaining team to present the justification for their proposed 30-40% pay increase.

In addition, four rank-and-file Health Facilities Evaluator Nurses (HFENs) from across the state provided background on the work they do to serve the most vulnerable members of the public, sharing heartfelt stories from their work experiences. They spoke on the issues they face in their work environment, including a 23% vacancy rate, ongoing backlogs, and low salaries.

“Our members are passionate about these issues,” said bargaining team member Sheila Coonan. “We want to voice their demands at the bargaining table.”

The State needs to provide its Registered Nurses a livable wage. Our proposals today address the financial gap experienced by HFENs. HFENs from across the state are sent to Los Angeles to help relieve the backlog. While there, they work alongside LA County nurses in the same classification while making 30% less.

“Very rarely are HFENs in Los Angeles long enough to take advantage of the travel incentive,” said bargaining team member Felicia Barbato. “We have proposed expanding the verbiage so all HFENs sent to LA will reap the benefits they’ve earned.”

Additionally, nurses required to wear professional attire have never had a clothing allowance in spite of the financial difficulties they have incurred.

“We are representing the state in our work environment, and we need to be professionally dressed,” said Barbato. “The state needs to provide a reasonable allowance for RNs to be prepared for work.”

Nurse practitioners have not had a special salary adjustment since 2006. Because of this, their wages are not comparable to the private sector.

In order to make up all these differences in compensations across these three classifications, BU 17 passed three financial proposals today to the State:

  • 11.1.17 – Special Salary Adjustments (Unit 17) – 30%
  • 11.59.17 – Health Facilities Evaluator Nurse LA County Travel Incentive –

California Department of Public Health (Unit 17) – $167 per day

  • 12.X.17 – Professional Clothing Allowance (Unit 17) – $450 per year

The state offered Tentative Agreements for the following rollover sections:

  • 2.4.17 – Distribution of Union Information (Unit 17)
  • 5.17.17 – Classification Recruitment and Retention Committee (Unit 17)
  • 14.20.17 – Classification Reviews (Unit 17)

Our team has made it very clear to the State that movement at the table is crucial. “We are waiting for responses to a remaining 60 proposed article sections,” said Vanessa Seastrong, Unit 17 Chair. “These need to be addressed in the next 4 weeks of bargaining.”

Unit 17 returns to the table next week, on Tuesday, May 30. To see updates on other bargaining unit contract sessions, please visit the Contract Action Center page at seiu1000.org

There’s real truth to the Local 1000 slogan, Stronger Together. We only win a great contract with a strong Local 1000 membership. So, if you’re not already a member, we encourage you to join us today.

And be sure to save your spot for the upcoming June 8 March to the Governor’s mansion here.