Uploaded: Friday, July 21, 2000 3:15 PM

Nurses to vote on proposed strike settlement

by Don Kazak

The 7-week old nurses strike at Stanford may soon be over.

A federal mediator has proposed terms of settlement for a new contract that the nurses' union will take to its membership for a ratification vote Thursday.

The two sides had a marathon negotiating session yesterday that went for 18 hours.

Terms of the settlement will not be disclosed until the nurses vote on the proposal.

"The federal mediator has presented a proposed settlement which will resolve all issues," said Ben Drew, spokesman for the hospitals. "Our hopes are that we can resolve the strike."

"I don't know what to expect," said Kim Griffin of the Committee for Recognition of Nursing Achievement. "Some people will be happy to go back to work, and some may still be angry at the institution."

More than 1,700 nurses at Stanford and Lucile Packard Children's hospitals walked off the job June 7 after failing to reach agreement with hospital officials on a new contract.

The hospitals hired about 500 replacement nurses to replace the CRONA nurses, about 40 of whom have returned to work at the two hospitals since the strike started. They may face fines from the union once the strike is resolved.

Because of a nursing shortage at Bay Area hospitals, many CRONA nurses have been working temporarily at other hospitals.

Issues in the strike include pay, staffing and health benefits. The hospitals have been offering 8 percent in pay raises over two years, while CRONA has proposed 15 percent over two years.

Stanford Hospital has operated with its normal census of inpatients, while Packard Hospital has been at 70-80 percent of its normal census, Drew said.