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Metro Digest / Local News in Brief

Tentative Agreement for Nurses Comes Under Fire

October 13, 1989

A tentative agreement that averted a nurses' strike at Los Angeles County-run clinics and hospitals was assailed by some members of the rank and file Thursday, leaving final approval of the proposed pact far from certain.

"It should be voted down, but I don't know if it will be," said Beverly Footman, a nurse practitioner for the county.

A vote on the proposed 17.25% pay raise over two years, originally set for today, was rescheduled until Monday to give union officials more time to disseminate details of the proposal to nurses.

Footman complained that the proposed salary increase still leaves county nurses earning less than private nurses, making it difficult for the county to fill 1,000 nursing vacancies. County nurses currently earn between $2,600 and $3,000 a month.

A tentative agreement on a new contract for 5,126 nurses was announced late Wednesday, averting a strike that had been due to begin at 12:01 a.m. Thursday.

But the head of the nurses' bargaining team later indicated that final agreement is far less certain. The proposed two-year contract is being presented to the nurses for a vote without a recommendation.

Pandora McDaniel, a nurse at a downtown clinic, said: "I don't feel it's a fair settlement. We're asking for 22% (over two years), and that's what we should get."

On the other hand, Chris Esqueda, a nurse at County-USC Medical Center, called the proposed agreement "pretty good" and said his fellow nurses were also pleased.

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