Bargaining Update - CNA Negotiations


Palomar Health met with the California Nurses Association (CNA) on November 15 and November 21 for continued contract discussions. Our bargaining team made great efforts to move negotiations closer toward an agreement. We offered numerous additional contract improvements, working until almost midnight and during Thanksgiving Week.  Unfortunately, CNA responded to Palomar Health’s good faith compromises and concessions by going backwards with their own demands, insisting on even more than before. 

The following are just a few highlights of Palomar Health’s significantly improved contract proposal:
  • Health Insurance:  No increases to employee copays or coinsurance amounts, despite Palomar Health receiving a 7.4% premium increase from Sharp Health Plan. 
  •  Compensation:  Significantly higher total pay increases of more than 4.40% in 2018 and 2019 and more than 4.65% in 2020 and 2021 (2.25% per year in 2018 and 2019 plus 2.15% step increase on average; 2.50% per year in 2020 and 2021, plus 2.15% step increase on average). In addition, RNs who work shifts designated as “critical needs” shifts would be able to earn 25% more per hour, on average.  These higher pay increases and longer contract term are contingent on CNA accepting the rest of our contract proposal. 
  • Staffing:  Mediation if the parties cannot resolve staffing-related concerns. 

Palomar Health and CNA reached tentative agreements on several contract articles, including:
  • Successors: Improvements to successorship protection language requiring 60 days’ notice in writing.  Previous contract required 30 days’ notice.
  • Health & Safety: Addition of Health & Safety and workplace violence protection language.
  • Tuition Reimbursement:  25% higher tuition reimbursement rates.
Palomar Health has now offered several million dollars in additional wages, salaries and benefits above and beyond what had been budgeted.  However, CNA responded to our generous, improved contract proposal by demanding tens of millions of dollars more.  At our November 21 negotiation session, CNA increased its demands by millions of dollars in areas of the contract compared to our prior meeting.  Given that we are already millions of dollars over budget, these expectations are not at all realistic or sustainable. 

As a reminder, we have told CNA for the past several months that pay increases will not be retroactive.  We previously offered to make pay increases retroactive if the Union would extend the contract past June.  Regrettably, CNA opted instead to let the agreement expire without any willingness to grant extensions.  We hope a new contract can be finalized as soon as possible.  We want to provide our hard-working Registered Nurses with immediate pay increases and other improvements, but we cannot do this without the Union’s agreement. 

As always, Palomar Health remains committed to bargaining in good faith until the parties reach a new contract.  Rest assured that we are working as efficiently as possible to reach a fair deal for Palomar Health and our employees.  As we approach the upcoming holidays and end of the calendar year, we hope CNA is equally serious about reaching a fair and prompt resolution.  We will continue to keep you updated regarding the status of negotiations. 

We hope that everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving.  We are grateful for everything you do to heal, comfort and promote health in the communities we serve.  

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