Palo Alto Weekly

News - May 7, 2010

News Digest

Stanford rejects nurses' contract counter-offer

A bluntly worded letter to Stanford and Lucile Packard hospitals' nurses' union has flatly rejected contract negotiations, bringing both sides closer to a strike.

"We had told CRONA that if their proposal falls within the parameters of the Last, Best & Final Offers, the hospitals would be happy to return to the table to wrap things up; if not, there was no purpose to be served in meeting," hospital officials wrote.

"Unfortunately, the proposal was well outside these parameters and diluted those aspects most essential to the highest-quality operations of our hospital," the letter said.

The hospitals' in-no-uncertain-terms letter to the Committee for Recognition of Nursing Achievements (CRONA), dated May 4, reiterated that hospital officials would not budge on their final offer.

Union officials had asked hospital representatives to return to the bargaining table and submitted a counter-proposal on April 28 after the hospitals said they saw no reason to negotiate further. The union's new proposal was submitted through a federal mediator to Stanford Hospitals and Clinics and Lucile Packard Children's Hospital on April 28.

Union officials made several concessions, which included accepting the hospitals' wage-increase offer of the three-year contract. They also accepted staff reductions and layoff policies and performance evaluations.

Two areas remain major sticking points: paid time off and the hospitals' Professional Nurse Development Program, or PNDP, which defines promotions for upper-level nurses.

CRONA's proposal would allow nurses to accrue up to 520 hours of paid time off, or 13 weeks.

"They are proposing to cut in half the period that the hospitals will pay for medical insurance. A nurse who is out and has no paid time off — because the hospitals' plan makes it impossible to "bank" it — will end up with no income and no medical insurance after 12 weeks, CRONA attorney Peter Nussbaum said.

CRONA's assertions are misleading, hospital spokesperson Sarah Staley said: "The claim taht nurses cannot bank their (paid time off) is simply false. They can bank up to 520 hours. CRONA knows and is not saying, that 520 hours is more than nurses can carry at other hospitals in the Bay Area ... and is what is provided for the other 6,000 Stanford and Packard Children's employees."

TheatreWorks cited as 'treasured cultural icon'

It all started with "Popcorn." Now, decades later, TheatreWorks of Palo Alto is celebrating its 40th anniversary.

The Palo Alto City Council Monday proclaimed TheatreWorks — and its founder and director Robert Kelley — a "treasured cultural icon."

Since its very first production — the musical "Popcorn" in 1970 — TheatreWorks has grown to become the third-largest theater in the Bay Area, nationally recognized for its quality of new plays and musicals.

This week TheatreWorks took home seven 2009 Bay Area Theater Critics Circle Awards, including five for "It Ain't Nothin' But the Blues" (Entire Production; Principal Performance, Female, to C. Kelly Wright; Director, to Randal Myler; Sound Design, to Cliff Caruthers; Ensemble) and two for "Tinyard Hill" (Supporting Performance, Female to Allison Briner; Supporting Performance, Male, to James Moye).

The company has produced 53 new works in 40 years. One of them, "Memphis," currently is running on Broadway. The rock n' roll musical, which had its world premiere at TheatreWorks in 2004, was nominated for eight Tony Awards. Kelley originally founded TheatreWorks as a youth program for the City of Palo Alto, and the company has presented performances at Lucie Stern Theatre throughout its history. TheatreWorks also presents at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts.

Burial service Saturday for Gunn grad Tim Sullivan

A burial service will be held Saturday for Timothy Sullivan, 20, of Palo Alto, who died April 25 in a skateboarding accident in Capitola.

The Catholic graveside service will be at 1 p.m. at Gate of Heaven Cemetery, 22555 Cristo Rey Drive, Los Altos.

All are welcome at the service, which will be a "simple Catholic rite at graveside with time for sharing of stories and reflections about Timmy," his mother, Sherry Cassedy, said.

Sullivan, a 2008 graduate of Gunn High School, was completing his sophomore year at the University of California at Santa Cruz and planned to study in Berlin this fall. He died from head injuries sustained in the accident, in which he was not wearing a helmet, but doctors were able to transplant his organs to others.

Rather than flowers, the Sullivan family asks that memorial contributions be made to the Timothy Sullivan Legacy Fund of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, 2440 West El Camino Real, Suite 300, Mountain View, CA 94040.

— Palo Alto Weekly staff

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