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Hospital, Nurses Union Sign Wage Contract

After almost a year and a half of negotiations, Antelope Valley Hospital and the California Nurses Association have signed off on a new union contract, affecting more than 1,000 nurses at the Lancaster hospital. The previous contract expired in July 2015 but was extended through the end of the year. However, no contract was in place thereafter, resulting in a one-day nurses’ strike – the first of its kind in the hospital’s 61-year history – which took place on Sept. 28, 2016. “One of the main issues between the parties at the time of the strike was we did not have an agreement on wages and all the components that go into wages,” said Mark Bradshaw, corporate council for Alecto Healthcare Services, the company that formerly managed the hospital. In the new three-year deal, which was approved by the district hospital’s board and ratified by the nurses’ union in early December, wages will increase 4 percent the first year and 3 percent for the two years following. In addition, some nurses will get pay raises, or step increases, based on experience and years of service. Retroactive step increases will also be implemented to compensate the nurses for the period no contract was in place, according to Bradshaw. The 40 articles in the contract also addressed other issues such as pensions, health benefits, paid time off as well as recruitment and retention. “It can be a challenge to recruit a new nurse, when a nurse is aware there is no contract in place and hasn’t been for more than a year and that there was a recent strike and potentially a threat of future strikes,” said Bradshaw. “I think the merits of the new contract make it easier to recruit new nurses to the hospital when you don’t have that uncertainty in place.” ImmunoCellular CEO Dr. Anthony Gringeri has been appointed the new chief executive of ImmunoCellular Therapeutics Ltd., following the resignation of Andrew Gengos. The Calabasas cancer treatment company announced the resignation and new appointment on Dec. 14 but declined to provide a timeline or reason for the departure. Gengos will remain on the board and continue in a reduced role with the company, while Gringeri will join the board in conjunction with his new position. Prior to the appointment, Gringeri served as ImmunoCellular’s vice president of strategic resources since August 2013, facilitating development of key products in the company’s pipeline. During this time, he spearheaded the late-stage clinical trials for ICT-107, a cancer drug for patients with newly diagnosed glioblastoma brain tumors, as well as the initial safety trials for ICT-121 used in cases of recurrent glioblastoma. “The changes we are announcing today (Dec. 14) reflect our strategy to focus on the ICT-107 program, as continued implementation aimed at completing the phase 3 registration trial is a key driver of potential long-term value for our stakeholders,” Gary Titus, ImmunoCellular’s chairman, said in a statement. Prior to joining ImmunoCellular, Gringeri held executive positions at regenerative medicine developer ViaCyte Inc. of San Diego, Netherlands-based Amsterdam Molecular Therapeutics as well as Thousand Oaks biotech Amgen Inc. Medtronic’s Chinese Penalty Medical device maker Medtronic Inc. has been fined $17.2 million by Chinese regulators for alleged price fixing and monopolistic activities pertaining to its diabetes and cardiovascular devices. The company’s diabetes division is located in Northridge, where it coordinates the manufacturing and marketing of its MiniMed insulin pumps and systems. The National Development and Reform Commission of China claimed the company created barriers to competition by implementing minimum prices for its products that local distributors were required to charge. “We can confirm that Medtronic was investigated by China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) related to the country’s anti-monopoly law, and Medtronic accepts the NDRC’s decision,” Fernando Vivanco, Medtronic’s senior director of corporate communications, wrote in an email to the Business Journal. “We are absolutely committed to ensuring that we are in full compliance with local laws and regulations, and we are also dedicated to providing the high quality medical equipment and solutions to help improve the health of patients in China.” In the United States, “reasonable price, territory and customer restrictions on dealers are legal,” according to the Federal Trade Commission. However, China views price-setting tactics as anti-competitive and has hit foreign automakers, milk suppliers and other companies with similar fines. Staff Reporter Stephanie Henkel can be reached at (818) 316-3130 or shenkel@sfvbj.com.

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