SEIU 1021

SFDPH Nurses Reach Tentative Agreement to Address Staffing Crisis
The agreement, which must be ratified by a majority of members of the nurses’ union, will add new positions and mechanisms to reduce contracting out and to reduce reliance on temporary, part-time nurses 



Contact: Jennie Smith-Camejo,, (510) 710-0201; Ella Sogomonian,, (415) 686-5075

SAN FRANCISCO: May 9, San Francisco Department of Public Health Nurses, concerned with a lack of progress in contract negotiations, called for a strike vote for the first time in almost 50 years. Their colleagues responded with resounding support of 99.5%. Bringing that power to the bargaining table allowed the nurses to secure a tentative agreement with the city that begins to address some of their top priorities.

The agreement, which still must be ratified by a majority of SEIU 1021 members covered by the contract, makes progress on several priorities identified by nurses: safe staffing; retention and recruitment; reductions in contracting out; and narrowing the wage gap between our public health department and private institutions in the Bay Area. It will help bring nurses who are currently employed by SFDPH on a temporary, per-diem basis into permanent, full-time positions, ensuring adequate staffing while improving continuity of care for patients.

“We have been desperate for resources to improve patient care and nurses working conditions for years – long before we went to the bargaining table in February,” said SEIU 1021 SF Community RN Chapter President Jennifer Esteen. “While it’s unfortunate that it took a landslide strike vote to get SFDPH management to take our issues seriously, we are pleased that we were finally able to reach an agreement that will make major strides in addressing our priorities of safe staffing, competitive wages for retention and recruitment, and reducing wasteful contracting out.”

“Our nurses sent a strong collective message to the City of San Francisco and the Department of Public Health. We will do what it takes to give our patients the quality and continuity of care they deserve. While we are encouraged by the gains in this tentative agreement, we plan to remain engaged and diligent to ensure that the city honors the promises it has made,”  said SEIU 1021 SFGH RN Chapter President Heather Bollinger. “This agreement promises to add 47 new RN positions and, importantly, includes mechanisms for checks and balances on reducing contracting out. It also provides opportunities and incentives for nurses already working for SFDPH on a temporary, per-diem basis to become permanent, full-time nurses. In the long run the best thing for our patients and our city is a robust healthy staffing base. We believe this contract begins to move us in that direction.”