Catholic Healthcare West, San Francisco, reached a tentative contract covering 4,700 registered nurses in 12 hospitals represented by the California Nurses Association. The four-year agreement incorporates California's landmark nurse-to-patient ratio law, which has been the subject of lawsuits since it went into effect Jan. 1, 2004. Including California's ratios in the bargaining contract gives nurses another avenue for enforcement, said Chuck Idelson, the union's spokesman. The contract also includes wage increases of 26% to 28% and a $1,000 contribution per year of employment to nurses' retirement benefits, up to $25,000. The CNA represents another 3,800 Catholic Healthcare West nurses in an additional 12 hospitals whose contracts are not open for bargaining. -- by Melanie Evans
System accepts Calif.'s nurse ratios in union contract
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