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SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA / A news summary | The Local Review

Nurses OK 3-Year Pact With County, Get 12% Raise

November 02, 2000

LOS ANGELES — The 5,000 nurses who work in county hospitals and health clinics agreed on a new contract Wednesday that provides across-the-board 12% raises over three years and raises hopes of boosting staffing levels, union officials said.

The settlement comes three weeks after nurses participated in a series of walkouts advocating a 15.5% raise and better patient care. The union that represents nurses and 43,000 other county service workers settled most of its employees' contracts last week but the nurses took until Wednesday.

"The nurses are feeling very good about the settlement," said Annelle Grajeda, general manager of the Service Employees International Union Local 660.

Grajeda said the deal includes raises of more than 12% for some of the nurses, plus a commitment from county officials to push for more staffing and give nurses more of a role in staffing decisions. Nurses have complained that they must tend as many as 10 patients at a time.

It was unclear how the promises of increased staffing would square with a plan before supervisors to actually cut medical staff to shrink a looming deficit in the county health department.

About 3,000 Local 660 members still have not completed contract negotiations.

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