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Contract Battle Between Sharp HealthCare, Nurses’ Union Heats Up

The battle over a new three-year contract between union nurses and Sharp HealthCare could soon become much more acrimonious.

Sharp HealthCare says it has made its best and final offer. Union nurses say that is not good enough.

So goes the fight over a new three-year labor agreement between the health care group and United Nurses Associations of California/Union of Health Care Professionals (UNAC/UHCP).

Nurses say they are fed up over what they call below-market wages.

Nurses complain under management’s latest offer, only about 25 percent of them will be eligible for the top wage increase.

Sharp Executive Vice President Dan Gross said all nurses will get at least a 16 percent bump over three years.

“I do not believe that we are being stingy in our offer," Gross said. "In fact, I think it is one of the most generous offers within the state.”

Nurse Annette Noa, who works at Sharp Mary Birch Hospital, said union members are in a tough spot.

"We love our patients, we love our co-workers, but it’s like we don’t have the respect from the employer," she said.

The two sides are also at odds over whether to require all Sharp nurses to join the union.

Currently, Sharp HealthCare employs nearly 4,800 nurses. About half are union members.

Union officials said they will meet with members this week to discuss the possibility of authorizing a strike vote.

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