Supervisors will take up an agreement Tuesday to provide raises to nurses at the Riverside County Regional Medical Center in Moreno Valley.(FILE PHOTO/2008)


Published: 06 January 2012 06:01 PM

In an effort to make Riverside County Regional Medical Center nursing pay more competitive, supervisors Tuesday will take up a deal to provide the hospital’s nurses with significant raises.

The raises — totaling more than 8 percent — would cost the county hospital $3.2 million this year, but two supervisors said the pay boost is needed to keep nurses from jumping to the private sector.

“This is good for our hospital,” Supervisor Marion Ashley said. “This is also very good for our patients.”

The nurses are represented by the Service Employees International Union Local 721. Last year, county officials imposed pension changes on the union, which represents 5,800 employees, including about 860 nurses.

Employees will be required to pay more toward their own retirements and, in exchange, will get a 2.71 percent pay increase.

But some supervisors and the nurses themselves have long raised concerns about a pay disparity with the private sector. The county often trains nurses and gives them experience, only to see them leave for higher paying jobs elsewhere, they said.

That results in continuity problems, loss of institutional knowledge and an increased reliance on higher-cost registry nurses, Ashley and Supervisor Jeff Stone said this week.

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