Flu Protections Added to Contract Keep California Nurses from Striking

LOS ANGELES A California nurses’ union won’t strike, saying swine flu protections have been written into new contracts with the state’s largest hospital system.

The California Nurses Association had threatened a one-day strike last week at 32 Catholic Healthcare West hospitals if state and federal swine flu protection recommendations weren’t written into their contracts.

Tenets of the new contract announced Monday include close monitoring of workplace safety conditions and broad availability of protective gear. Nurses had complained about poor access to protective N-95 masks after a 51-year-old Sacramento nurse died in July after contracting swine flu.

The contract, which must be ratified by union membership, includes a 20 percent wage increase over four years.