Stanford and Lucile Packard hospitals nurses voted April 7 to accept a tentative contract hammered out by its union with the help of a federal mediator.
The agreement comes more than a year after their contract expired on March 31, 2010, and nurses voted to strike if necessary.
The Committee for Recognition of Nursing Achievement (CRONA), which represents 2,700 of the hospitals' nurses, said 76 percent of the nurses voted in favor of the new contract.
"This has been a long and tumultuous process. While the contract has many problems, we were able to make important improvements only because you remained united behind CRONA. It is this solidarity that will carry us through the next negotiations that will begin in January 2013," President Lorie Johnson wrote to the membership.
"We are very proud of our membership and how we stood together and refused to let the hospitals impose an unfair contract on us."
The contentious negotiations brought the nurses close to a strike, with sticking points over paid leave and promotions. But a federal mediator asked both sides to return to the bargaining table after the nurses voted in March to allow CRONA to call a strike if necessary.
Hospitals spokespersons said they were pleased with the agreement.
"We are very pleased to have reached agreement on new contracts for our nurses," Greg Souza, vice president of human resources for Lucile Packard Children's Hospital, said.
"The new contracts will result in a 4 percent retroactive pay raise for nurses -- in addition to other wage increases -- and will advance nursing practice and programs to provide our patients with the very best in patient care."
Other key components of the new contract agreements include an additional 4 percent base-wage increase effective April 1 and modifications to the requirements of the new Professional Nurse Development Program. The modifications address eligibility requirements for registered nurses with 20 or more years of service at the hospitals.
"We wish to thank our CRONA-represented nurses and CRONA leadership for their part in reaching this agreement," Dale Spartz, vice president of human resources for Stanford Hospital and Clinics.
The new contracts replace the provisions that the hospitals implemented after both sides reached impasse on Feb. 7. The agreements expire March 31, 2013.