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Palomar Health, Nurses, Caregivers Agree to Tentative Deals, Avoid Thursday Strike

Palomar Medical Center
Palomar Medical Center in Poway, shown in 2021. Photo credit: Alexander Nguyen/KPBS

Nurses and caregivers working at two Palomar Medical Center sites have reached tentative contract agreements, averting a one-day strike planned for Thursday.

According to Palomar Health, bargaining had been ongoing since the weekend and continued for the last 34 hours straight, with stakeholders at the table since Monday morning.

The agreements stop the strikes planned at the Escondido and Poway Palomar Health centers by 3,000 health care workers.

Registred nurses, who are represented by the California Nurses Association (CNA), and ancillary caregivers, represented by the CNA-affiliated Caregivers and Healthcare Employees Union (CHEU), had been negotiating for more than 14 months.

“We have worked diligently to ensure the best possible outcomes for both parties and remain committed to making beneficial progress. We are proud to have reached an agreement that our team can stand behind and be happy with,” says Diane Hansen, President and CEO of Palomar Health.

Union officials had complained of “Palomar management’s bad-faith bargaining and numerous other egregious violations of labor law” in the lead up to the agreements. Nurses and caregivers had sought improved levels of staffing for patients’ benefits and improved recruiting and retaining efforts.

The deals must be ratified by members before taking effect.

The California Nurses Association represents around 1,300 registered nurses at Palomar Health hospitals. The Caregiver and Healthcare Employees Union, an affiliate of CNA, represents around 1,700 ancillary caregivers. 

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