Tuesday, February 3, 2009
The University of California and the union representing more than ten thousand nurses have reached a tentative deal on a new contract. Nurses had threatened to walk off the job if their demands weren't met. KPBS Reporter Kenny Goldberg has more.
Nurses say their biggest gripe with UC was staffing.
California law requires hospitals maintain strict nurse-to-patient ratios at all times. UC Nurses complain they often work through lunch and rest breaks because there's no one to relieve them.
The new contract says hospitals must provide adequate staffing. California Nurses Association spokeswoman Beth Kean says that's a crucial issue.
Beth Kean : We need to be able to take our breaks so that we can be alert for our patients, but that also that there's adequate staffing when we do go on breaks so that our patients are cared for.
The new contract also gives nurses a four percent wage hike.
Nurses will vote on the agreement this weekend.
Kenny Goldberg, KPBS News.