Section: Nurses

Update on Contract Negotiations with the Staff Nurses’ Association


In the spirit of our commitment to reach a mutually acceptable agreement through constructive negotiations, we are pleased that the first face-to-face session in more than a month was held with the SNA bargaining team late yesterday afternoon. The session was well attended, with an estimated 150 RNs and other Hospital employees in attendance.

In an effort to further progress, we presented three proposals and confirmed that a tentative agreement had been reached on Seniority, pending SNA’s review of the language presented to them at the bargaining table. To be responsive to issues raised by SNA, the proposals offered by the Hospital were:

1) The withdrawal of a proposal regarding assistive personnel that resolves this matter with current contract language.

2) A counter-proposal with respect to Lead RNs taking patient assignments under limited circumstances. The proposal is designed to facilitate patient flow and handle any unanticipated increases in patient volume. Our intent is to be able to provide patient care while we are calling in additional staff or until immediate census pressures are relieved.

3) A modified shift differential for NOC shift that increased our original proposal from fifteen percent to eighteen percent. SNA supports maintaining the current shift differential rate of 25 percent.

SNA did not present proposals yesterday afternoon, citing that they did not have ample time to prepare. Agreement was reached about our next session, which will take place at 1:30 p.m. on November 6 in the auditorium of the First United Methodist Church on Montgomery Drive. At that time, we have committed to review the healthcare proposal we provided to SNA on September 29, and answer their questions. We would like to believe that given their counter-proposals, we could be close to reaching an agreement on this important issue.

The following questions and answers relate to the primary issue of concern raised and focused on by SNA at the bargaining table yesterday. For further clarification, and so there can be no misunderstanding, in addition to the FAQs below, a copy of a letter sent to SNA expressing our desire to continue meeting is attached.

A Ministry founded by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange 1165 Montgomery Drive • Santa Rosa, CA 95405 • T: (707) 546-3210

Q: The SNA took issue with the bargaining session taking place without the federal mediator.
Why was a meeting scheduled without the federal mediator?

A: A meeting can take place only if both parties agree to meet, and the federal mediator’s presence is not required for a bargaining session to take place. SNA was aware that the federal mediator could not attend. They had the right to decline to meet. Given how important resolving these issues are to all of us, we appreciate that they chose to come to the bargaining table instead.

Q: Why did the Hospital pursue a meeting today after representatives of SNA and Hospital bargaining teams agreed yesterday that a mutually acceptable location could not be secured?

A: We believe that given the importance of this issue for all of us – our RNs, who deserve a fair and just contract, and our hospital – a real and meaningful commitment to resolve outstanding issues and reach a mutually acceptable agreement through good faith bargaining is required. It was in this spirit that our offer was extended. Again, it was SNA’s prerogative to agree to or decline the offer to meet.

The fact is, SNA is now engaged in their second multi‐day strike after spending less than three months (or a total of 15 sessions, as of Oct. 31) in negotiations. Given that our striking RNs are on their ninth non-working day, and in response to the many requests we’re receiving to return to the bargaining table, we felt we had an obligation to make every effort to facilitate face-to-face negotiations in the hopes of progressing toward a mutually acceptable agreement.

The next negotiation session between the Hospital and SNA’s bargaining teams is scheduled for Tuesday, November 6 at 1:30 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church on Montgomery Drive. The Hospital is preparing for a productive session. As SNA President Sue Gadbois stated in today’s Press Democrat, “It’s always good to be negotiating…”

Thank you for the expertise, commitment and professionalism you demonstrate daily on behalf of our patients.

Members of the SRMH bargaining committee include: Rhonda Foster, Chief Nursing Officer; Debra Miller, Vice President of Human Resources; Ken Jones, Director, Nursing Services; Lorri Martinez, Interim Director, Perioperative Services; Colleen Scanlon, Director of Employee Advocacy and Labor Relations; and Stephanie Sloggett-O’Dell, Vice President of Employee Advocacy and Labor Relations.


Letter to the Staff Nurses Association November 4, 2012:

Dear Sue:

We were very appreciative when the federal mediator notified us yesterday that you had agreed to meet with us face-to-face today, believing that the best way to reach a mutually acceptable agreement for our Registered Nurses is through good faith bargaining anchored by direct, constructive and productive sessions.

I understand that you cancelled today’s session last evening after determining that the four meeting locations we identified yesterday were not acceptable: the Life Learning Center and Ambulatory Surgery Center (not perceived as neutral), the Courtyard Marriot (bus drivers for the replacement RNs staying there) and the Hilton (did not want to pay for half of the reservation fee).

Given the importance of this issue to all of us, so that the 4 p.m. session can take place as planned today, we are willing to pay for the entire reservation fee at the Hilton and have reserved the Golden Gate A/B conference room from between 3:30 – 8 p.m. The room can accommodate well over 50 people.

We think this investment in progress to reach an agreement on behalf of our RNs is well worth it, and want to make sure that logistical issues do not prevent a face-to-face meeting today.

Our team has been working since yesterday’s notification of today’s meeting so that the session can be productive and we can build on its progress on November 6th, our next scheduled bargaining session.

We look forward to receiving your confirmation.


Debra Miller, Vice President Human Resources

CC: Todd Salnas, President
Rhonda Foster, RN, Chief Nursing Officer

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