Bargaining Update: RN Side Table Reaches Agreement Over Nurse Specific Issues

SEIU 721 statement on the approval of the Side Letter Agreement between the County of Riverside and SEIU 721 for RCRMC/Arlington Campus Registered Nurses – (BOS #03.38)
The SEIU 721 Registered Nurse side letter agreement that was approved by the Board of Supervisors today, Jan. 10, 2012, is a positive step in retaining quality-trained nurses at Riverside County Regional Medical Center and the Arlington campus. And while we applaud these results, Riverside county management continues to impose an improper, unlawful and unfair contract on workers, including nurses, who protect the health, safety and security of our community.
It is time for the Board of Supervisors to show leadership and order county management to return to the bargaining table to negotiate in good faith for all SEIU 721 members and their families.

Late Friday, Dec. 16, 2011, the SEIU 721 RN bargaining team reached an agreement with Riverside county management on issues of recruitment and retention incentives for registered nurses at Riverside County Medical Center and Arlington Campus.

The RN side letter agreement signifies the impact of active and unified member involvement in securing an equitable contract. Nurses at RCRMC mounted two successful petition campaigns to advance proposals that addressed the serious staffing issues and community standards of pay at the hospital including the inability to retain trained nurses that leave RCRMC for better-paid positions at other area hospitals. Additionally nurses delivered the petitions to Supervisor Jeff Stone and to hospital management underscoring the importance of member involvement and the urgency in addressing these problems. Summary of side letter agreement that pertains to registered nurses at RCRMC and Arlington campus only:
• Compensation – Effective Feb. 9, 2012, an 8.21% across the board pay increase in lieu of the 2.71% one-step increases scheduled to begin in July 2012 under the County’s Terms and Conditions of Employment. No additional step increases will apply. As of March 8, 2012, the county will increase critical care differentials by 25% and include them in the base pay for registered nurses assigned to specialty care units. This means those employees will receive this special pay rate for all compensated hours, such as the use of personal leave, instead of just actual hours worked.
• Retention
– Effective June 28, 2012, all RCRMC registered nurses with three or more years of service will receive a pay increase of 2.71%.
• Scheduling – Weekend shifts have been redefined as only work on Saturday and Sunday qualify for double time. There is also a change in policy language that a 3/12 schedule will be at the discretion of management.
The remainder of the county’s imposed Terms and Conditions of Employment will be in effect until all SEIU 721 members, including nurses, convince the Board of Supervisors to do the right thing and order county management to return to the bargaining table to negotiate in good faith on issues that affect all members, such as step/merit increases, retirement and medical benefits.
Click here to download the side table agreement.
The SEIU 721 bargaining team continues to demand the county return to the negotiating table to reach a fair agreement on these issues. Big plans are in the works for the New Year!
Contact your Contract Action Team member or a work site organizer to stay informed on upcoming job actions and events at specific work sites.

0 responses to “Bargaining Update: RN Side Table Reaches Agreement Over Nurse Specific Issues

  1. If the county is in a financial crisis, how did the DDAA members get such a great deal? I believe they deserve it but so do we! Just another overt action by County HR showing favoritism for some and disrespect for others.

  2. Come on SEIU — Nurses get a raise and the non-nurses get the shaft!
    That takes away any bargaining power that the non-nurses might have.
    Why do we have a union??? Better question – Why am I in the Nurses Union?

  3. This casts a weird light on the union story that “the BOS and management hate all employees and want to make all working conditions worse.” We’re also told how much better LIUNA has it…the DDAs are getting a nice contract… it must just be SEIU the county hates! But wait, now SEIU nurses negotiate themselves a great deal…

    It’s either all the evil county with unending exceptions and buts to explain their treatment of other units, OR our hyperpolitical, incompetent, member manipulating bargaining team screwing things up… everyone else seems to be doing alright, let’s put blame where it belongs. Time to think about leaving!

  4. So the nurses are more important than all other SEIU members? We get the shaft and they get over what the pension contribution will be? How does that save the County money?

  5. Why is it that the most lowly paid people always loose out. Now the nurses have a side letter and the DA’s are really only losing 1 percent when they start paying their pension. Non nurse SEIU members also paid their 10 % with furloughs and no step increases now for three years. The whole situation is so unfair. In the long run the nurses do end up with an increase and with overtime and shift differentials make far more that office supervisors. I feel underepresented by my union for sure. Merry Christmas!!

  6. How did those of us in SEIU that are non nurses become the whipping post for the County to screw us over?

  7. Are non-nurse SEIU members going to bear all the cuts while the other bargaining units go unscathed? Something is wrong with this picture.

  8. Dear SEIU,

    How could you do that to us? (Other SEIU members)?
    By negotiating this side agreement for the Nurses (who by the way made a lot of overtime money during furlough times when the REST OF US were getting a 10% cut), the Nurses will now get an 8.21% plus an 2.71% pay increase while all other SEIU members will get a 8% CUT!
    Now we have absolutely no power to force the county to treat us fairly. This is the greatest slap in our faces, worse than the county.

    I am so disappointed, specially, when we supported you and trusted you would have the common sense to fight for us ALL, not only the nurses.

    You well know that the county will not respect us; even less, if they don’t have nothing to lose…Now the County has absolutely NOTHING to lose. The Nurses and DA got their raises. The County will for sure NOT negotiate a fair agreement with us next year because they have nothing to lose….. They can do anything they want and we cannot force them to be fair.
    Thank you SEIU this is indeed a great Christmas gift.
    p.s. You really owe the REST OF US an explanation!
    I wished I no longer had to pay $12 monthly in union dues. That would mean to me a $12 pay increase! I can buy 3 gallon of MILK a month for my 2-year old and my 5-year old.

  9. The DA’s are also getting their steps reinstated immediantly, FIVE steps added to the top of their payscales, extra vacation hours (believe it was 200), and extra $$ towards medical. What is going on here? The Counties broke and trying to screw over SEIU member (according to our bargaining team) yet everybody is getting something except the non-nurse SEIU member. Can’t begin to describe how angry I am right now at the County and my union.

  10. Why so quiet SEIU? Nothing to say? How about an apology? Better yet, how about doing something for us? Forget the Occupy. Forget the 99%. Forget the banks and Wall Street. But don’t forget your members. Even the members that aren’t nurses should be remembered.

    I am certainly going to lose my house this year. I’m an IT worker that was reclassed 3 years ago and had the top 1/3 of my possible pay increases removed by the EO. SEIU didn’t even try to stop that from happening. Now, nothing from SEIU. I wasn’t even given a kiss after being $#@*ed. Please do something about this travesty. Shame on you SEIU. I don’t believe that there is anything more to say on this subject.

  11. People, wake up! Not all nurses in the county benefit from the side table negotiations. There are other nurses and nurse practitioners in the county who care for the same patients (plus more), and who work side by side with RCRMC nurses for the same inpatient clients during the same admits who are being left out in the cold. Those nurses also make less than their counterparts in other counties and in the private sector. It is also becoming difficult to replace those nurses due to the comparatively low take home pay. The nurse benefits being negotiated ARE NOT all inclusive.

  12. Not all nurses are included. MH, Clinic and DHS nurses were supposed to be included.SEIU and Nick Martienez is not snswering their phones or returning calls…..all nurses should and were expected to be included,. We should all strike and vote no. The union is a joke, still. Thought Martinez knew what he was doing……looks not!
    Have absolutelely no use for the union anymore and when the new law passes we will not have to pay dues…..YIPPY!!!!!! Waste of money,

  13. I once again I feel let down by the barganing team! Thanks again folks…. at least you all got screwed too! I’m sorry but the nurses will never back us up if we were to strike, seeing as they got what they wanted once again. I’ve put up with the nurses getting their way every frickin time for over the last 11 years. I have Exclusive Care for insurance and I get treated like crap everytime I go to the hospital. I’m done, just drag my butt over the hot coals, cause I’m done fighting, and can’t take much more anymore.

  14. ATTENTION SEIU MEMBERS – We should not be upset at other unions who were able to negotiate a lucrative contract with the County but rather focus the attention on County Executive Barbara Olivier and our SEIU bargaining leadership. The DA’s Union and the Nurses were able to leverage something through their negotiations to obtain significant gains to offset their imposed 8% retirement contribution. HAVE WE SEEN SOMETHING IN WRITING THAT SPELLS OUT WHAT SEIU IS ASKING FOR? We need to demand better communication between our Union Leaders and its Members.

  15. Yes, why DO we have a union. That much more out of my paycheck every payday.
    In the past year my family has lost over 3/4’s of our income and now this? I don’t see why I need a union when everything is county’s way, all the way, anyway.

  16. Gotta love being in the union, so great, just get the shaft each year cause SEIU can’t stand up to the BOS and tell them the DDA needs to take a hit like the rest of the county!
    Why doesn’t SEIU “bargaining team” attend some of the LIUNA meetings, they seems to have it right. Their members get heard and paid!

  17. This union is not fair !! Even people working in the hospital feel betrayed by the union. Are the contract still imposes or if nurse sign the agreement, it is our contract. SEIU lies to us on the meeting then.

  18. Last night The Press-Enterprise released an online piece by Duane W. Gang regarding the extra benefit that the BOS and certain employees get. It is the 401(a) fund retirement fund that the County pays. You should read the whole article but here is some of the sad and shocking news.

    “The county imposed pension changes on its three largest unions last year, and supervisors voted to have themselves, management and other nonunion employees contribute more toward their own retirements.

    But so far, there has been no public discussion of whether the county should continue providing the $50 bi-weekly 401(a) contribution to elected officials and the other employees. In general, a 401(a) plan is a retirement-savings account to which only the employer makes a contribution.”


    “Only one elected official does not receive both the CalPers and 401(a) benefits from the county. Supervisor John Benoit, who as a retired CHP officer already receives a CalPers pension, opts to only have the 401(a) plan. As of Nov. 30, he received a bi-weekly 401(a) contribution of $1,200 in lieu of the CalPers benefit the county is obligated to provide, the records show. Since Dec. 1, he has started contributing 4 percent of his salary toward his retirement.”

  19. To all of you that are fed up with the Union:

    Good for the nurses. Good for the DA’s. They pulled it together and fought.

    We should be ashamed of ourselves and angry.

    Direct that anger to the BOS. Sign the petition and participate in the Strike Day. Go to meetings. If there is a picket at an event, i.e. Bob Buster’s $5,000 a plate fund raiser, pick up a sign and picket.

    We are the Union and we only have ourselves to blame if we just complain but do not organize and participate.

    Is SEIU the best? No, but we still need to pull together or the BOS will continue to divide and conquer us and take our money.

    Our only fight right now should be to get the BOS back to the table. We can deal with the other
    SEIU stuff later.

  20. The union’s strength is a direct reflection of the will of their membership…The nurses have been fantastically cohesive and organized, and we have not…It isn’t too late, though…We can choose to direct our outrage at the people who are writing our checks, and imposing their contracts; the BOS and County HR and administration, or squabble, blame, be ineffectual, and wait until the next time they decide that they want a pound of flesh from us…Making the union leadership your scapegoat for what has happened is convenient, but it is the worst kind of short-sighted…Those who are informed about the recent negotiations know that the county simply never bargained in good faith…If you want to hold the union leadership accountable, first do something yourself…become involved…If you respect your work, and that of your colleagues, send that message to the BOS by participating in protests against this imposed contract that is going to cost each of us hundreds of dollars each month out of our family budgets…Have you seen what they earn for your job in San Bernardino County, or Orange County recently? It is likely thousands more per year…Don’t those counties have to struggle in the same general economy as ours does? Why aren’t they suffering under these cuts? Same unions represent them…

  21. If other counties and other unions do well then it obviously our localbargaining team which is the failure. This is based on their results. All you union officials can quit blaming us members for not being involved. I’ve been involved and only seen the union work hard to twist the facts while engaging in their own bad faith practices.

    The people at the top are going make more. Quit cryin about it. Maybe if the uninion had focused on us instead of everyone else all last year we wouldn’t be it this boat.

  22. Good day for nurses?

    Below was sent to some of the nurses who are apart of our Union.

    “There are no doormats with RCRMC Nurses names on them!
    Congratulations Riverside County Medical Center Nurses!
    •You came out in force to fight for your wages and benefits;
    •You supported your union and negotiation team;
    •You stood in solidarity with your coworkers and took a strong stance; and
    •Your active participating in union activities made a difference!
    An 8.21% across the board pay increase effective February plus 25% increase in pay for critical care differentials. Wow! And that is only your side bar contract. Another great example of what can be accomplished with strength in the number of active members.

    Have you had enough of being a doormat yet?”

    I am a Registered Nurse but the Public Health. I’ve attended meetings, casted my vote. I get to be the doormat that the nurses at RCRMC aren’t.

    Our classification title was demoted from PHN to RN, classifying us all the same they said and yet we are constantly overlook in these ‘side deals’ when it comes to any raises, overtime and the likes. We are taken out of the deals even though our MINIMUM level of education in the public health department is a bachelor’s degree. A nurse at RCRMC just needs the basic associates degree.

    Where is our Union Rep when these things are decided.

  23. It can not even be legal to exclude some RNs….it is for all RNs or none…..they would not even dare try that with RSO or the D.A. Where is our union representation for the nurses?
    All the Rns signed the petition and then were excluded. WHAT? Is this a union?

  24. You know I am so sick of folks placing the blame the Union. Do you not understand that YOU are the UNION? Without the members there is no Union. Without the union we would be like Arizona, a right to work state. If the union is weak it is because the body of the membership is weak. We have never had to fight for anything…. The union is as strong as the members and don’t ever forget that! Folks need to step up, and represent themselves.

    Let’s do the math here 6,000 members strong vs. 5 BOS. Folks are crying about the bargaining team, blaming the union when you should be transferring that angry to the folks that so deserve your venom. Those 5 guys that sit on the board are the ones to blame. Why? They are calling the shots. How can we just shut up and take it? How can you let 5 little guys tell all 6,000 members what to do? Riverside County has been too passive-aggressive in the past. It’s time to stand up for your fundamental rights. Oh yeah, you have rights and you do not have to be subordinate when it comes to standing up for your rights!

    Please know that they are trying to concord and divide! How so: DDA, Nurses, LIUNA, and impasse. They are not negotiating in good faith. Think about it folks…

    Let’s get back to the bargaining table, in good faith. Pay it forward not with “Unfair Labor Practices”…Cowards.

    Power to the People!

    P.S. The bargaining Team consist of SEIU members only. FYI they are not being paid by SEIU, BOS, or HR. They are just paying-it-forward and they believe in the members. Peace

  25. It looks like some members are more equal than others. What is the point in being in a “union” when you get screwed while other members cut “side deals”? Where is the UNITY?

  26. What chance of successfully striking is there when the the attorneys and County hospital nurses have been all taken care of. Divide and conquer has worked for the County before and is working again. What chance to the rest of us have? NONE!! I can’t bear to look and my new and less than improved paycheck.

  27. In reguards to extra weekend shifts, the MOU contraindicates itself if you are saying that the weekend starts saturday at 7am…. the MOU says friday at 3pm…. please do explain???

  28. Look, it really comes down to this…We either fight back with the tools at our disposal, or we submit to this effort by the BOS to be re-elected to their benefit and salary rich positions by balancing the county’s checkbook at our expense…I believe we must stay together and quit pointing fingers and whinning about the union…We’ve always done a poor job of organizing and mobilizing and the county has always benefited enormously from it…I agree with those who urge you to look at working conditions and salaries in the “right to work” states because the laws are weighted against labor unions…Even in Riverside County at some of the Indian gaming workplaces where there are no unions…Just whisper “union” there and you are out looking for a job. People are fired without regard to job performance, but simply because management would rather pay a cook than a chef…Let’s stand together and see this through…

  29. Danelle K you are correct – you got messed over with the rest of us. Now what are you going to do? Accept it? or Fight back? I am not going to take this and whine. I signed the petition and will take every job action needed to get the attention of the BOS and HR.

  30. Totally agree. SEIU: I have gone to meetings and protests and wore my purple and did everything in my power that was asked of us, but you just played the game with the County and have screwed the rest of the employees big time. I’m very dissapointed, I’m actually angry. What chances do we have now????? We’ve been sold. I’m also too stunned to cry.

  31. I might be the union but I don’t recall anyone telling me they would go behind my back and cut a deal with the RCRMC nurses. I am ashamed of this county the union I went to those meetings and all I found out now is I wasn’t represented at all I am a nurse with the department of mental health and I just feel sick inside.

  32. I can sympathize with both sides over the fairness of the RCRMC RN Side Table Agreement that has been adopted. The nurses at RCRMC are hardworking professionals that deserve fair compensation for their services to Riverside County. All the rest of us SEIU 721 members, who work diligently and provide services to the people of Riverside County, likewise, should be paid a fair wage. The one thing the nurses at RCRMC have that the rest of us SEIU 721 members do not have is a public image. For example, movies, TV, and media glamourize the hospital nurse, California state law mandates certain nurse-to patient ratios, do to shortage of nurses RCRMC has had to rely heavily on expensive “Registry” nurses, and the nurses belong to a sub organization of SEIU called “SEIU Nurse Alliance of California” that fights for their particular issues. This public image the RCRMC nursing staff has makes it easier for SEIU 721 to bargain for better benefits. The rest of us SEIU 721 members seem to be just plain “invisible” to the public and the Board of Supervisors and our importance to serving the public of Riverside County is not appreciated.
    The problem, as I see it, is the failure of the County of Riverside to negotiate with fairness and integrity and SEIU 721’s image in Riverside as being seen as pampering and catering to RCRMC nurses. The County of Riverside practiced unfair labor practices, withheld information from SEIU 721’s bargaining team, improperly declared an impasse, and imposed four different terms and conditions on employees. As for image of catering primarily to the nurses at RCRMC just reads the various comments posted at SEIU 721’s website. In my department at RCRMC the consensus among my coworkers our issues are just plain ignored by SEIU 721. The excuse given being there are more important issues and our issues will be addressed in future contracts. Unsurprisingly, the issues are never brought before the bargaining table by SEIU 721. I remember a past contract where this issue of nurse retention and recruitment came up. To address this problem SEIU 721 bargained for bonuses to solve the problem. However, the bonus only applied to RCRMC nurses and money ran out to fund these bonuses. SEIU 721 in Riverside is being seen as an excerpt out of George Orwell’s Animal Farm. A revolution (Think SEIU 721) happens at Mr. Jones’ farm (Think County of Riverside) were all the animals are freed from abuse and are all “equal” (Think SEIU 721 members). In time, tyranny returns to the farm as Napoleon the pig (Think RCRMC nursing) exhorts the altered seventh commandment; “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others”. Please do not take this allegory too seriously. SEIU 721’s leadership should appreciated that if the majority of our membership in Riverside County views the union as giving preferential treatment to RCRMC nursing this action can only add to the apathy and loss of faith the rest of us have for SEIU 721.