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Monterey Park Hospital, Union Reach Accord

From a Times Staff Writer

Garfield Medical Center in Monterey Park and the Service Employees International Union, representing 450 registered nurses, reached agreement on the initial portion of a contract this week, ending a harsh two-year dispute.

In exchange for a union agreement to drop all unfair labor practices filings with the National Labor Relations Board, the medical center agreed to create a joint management-nurse committee to discuss staffing and patient care, and to increase salaries by 29% over four years.

The union and officials at the hospital, which is owned by Tenet Healthcare Corp., will continue bargaining in the next three months and then submit a full contract for ratification by both sides.

In a statement released Friday, the hospital’s chief executive, Philip Cohen, praised the agreement, saying that he expected it to bring “cost predictability, stable nurse staffing and a long period of labor peace.”

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Intensive care unit nurse Joanne Kawai, who belongs to the union, said the Garfield nurses were very excited about their gains.

“Now we have a voice affecting the quality of care and improvements,” she said of the agreement.


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