Safety issues are prominent in the new five-year-contract that registered nurses with the California Nurses Association/ National Nurses United (CNA/NNU) at the University of California (UC) just voted overwhelmingly to ratify.

Workplace violence, infectious disease protections and safe staffing protections were addressed in the agreement, which covers more than 14,000 registered nurses at five major medical centers, 10 student health centers, and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The new contract took effect as soon it was ratified.

Among its provisions:

  • Supporting safe staffing for safe patient care. The new agreement includes patient care and RN working conditions improvements, including: protections from unsafe assignments to areas requiring specialty expertise; improved protections around shift rotation.
  • Workplace violence and sexual harassment protections. “If nurses aren’t safe, patients aren’t safe,” according to a statement released by the CNA. UC facilities must have a comprehensive workplace violence prevention plan in place—in line with California’s nation-leading workplace violence law—as well as protections from sexual harassment.   
  • Infectious disease protections. The new agreement includes language strengthening the policies and equipment necessary to control the spread of communicable diseases in the hospital.

“We are so proud to ratify this historic contract for all registered nurses at UC. Nurses stood together in solidarity and fought back over 60 takeaways that would have directly affected our ability to care for our patients,” said Megan Norman, RN, UC Davis. “We won new language addressing infectious disease and hazardous substances as well as stronger protections around workplace violence and sexual harassment.”

The CNA says the contract – which also addresses pensions, pay increases and union rights -  will help retain and recruit high quality nurses across the UC system.