Professional Resource for Nurses (PRN)
Professional Resource for Nurses (PRN) is the professional and labor relations representative for non-administrative, non-management, non-supervisory Registered Nurses (RNs) at El Camino Hospital (the Hospital), a subsidiary of El Camino Hospital District. All eligible RNs are covered and protected by a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) between the Hospital and PRN.
PRN Statement of Philosophy
PRN is a non-profit organization that serves as a liaison between the Hospital and its RN employees. PRN seeks to secure the rights and promote the responsibilities of individuals in the work place. We fulfill this mission by the following endeavors:
1. Supporting a collaborative environment between the Hospital administration/management and the RNs in the pursuit and promotion of the highest quality patient care.
2. Continuing to enhance the general and econo mic working conditions of all RNs represented by PRN.
3. Fostering the professional image of nursing by supplying the PRN Executive Board and the membership with an adequately stocking and furnished office, thereby enhancing cohesiveness, stability, accountability, efficiency and continuity.
4. Motivating involvement among PRN members through effective communication by way of provocative Executive Council meetings, informative website and accessibility to PRN Executive Council representatives and Executive Board members.
Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA)
The CBA is the labor contract between the Hospital and PRN, representing the RNs working at El Camino Hospital. The CBA addresses wages, benefits, hours and other working conditions and is a result of negotiations between the Hospital and PRN.
In labor relations, or collective bargaining, PRN is only as strong as its membership. To truly represent the interests, needs and desires of the members, PRN needs the support, participation and guidance of the RNs.
PRN and the Hospital use the process of Interest-Based Bargaining (IBB) to guide our relationship. This process focuses on what we have in common rather than what we have in conflict to resolve issues and reach agreement on the best solutions to problems in our work place.
PRN Executive Council and General Membership Meetings
PRN Executive Council meetings are held each quarter, on the last Wednesday of January, April, July and October, at a place and time designated by the PRN Executive Board. Minutes of past meetings and other items of interest to RNs are maintained on the PRN website at www.PRNatECH.org. PRN members may attend all Executive Council meetings.
General membership meetings are held as needed and PRN members may attend all meetings.
Communication between PRN Leadership and Members
Good communication is of prime importance to PRN. As a member of PRN, you are responsible to ensure that your unit has an active Unit Representative who acts as a link between you and the PRN Executive Board. The agendas of the Executive Council meetings and the minutes of the Executive Board, Executive Council and general membership meetings are posted on the PRN website.
All notices are posted on the PRN website. Members are encouraged to check the website frequently for updates and announcements of PRN activities. The entire CBA may be found on the website in addition to the Bylaws, legislative report, forms for applying for certification reimbursement, filing an Assignment Despite Objection (ADO) and position memos re: weekends, charge nurse and other work issues.
CBA and Other Negotiations
The CBA is in effect for a designated time, usually two (2) years. PRN represents all eligible RNs at El Camino Hospital. PRN is the exclusive representative for RNs as specified by the Labor Management Relations Act.
The Chief Negotiator is appointed by the Executive Board. Negotiating Committee members are PRN volunteers who are interested in maintaining and improving the excellent working conditions at the Hospital. The PRN Negotiating Team members are chosen from the committee just prior to the start of contract negotiations. The committee members identify interests, issues, needs and desires
for negotiations. The team goes to the bargaining table lead by the Chief Negotiator. The IBB process is used for bargaining in good faith with the Hospital. IBB is a less adversarial process than the traditional bargaining process.
CBA Interpretation and Compliance
PRN interprets the CBA for members. Conflicts of interpretation and application of the CBA between RNs and the Hospital or between PRN and the Hospital are addressed through the Informal Conflict Resolution and/or Grievance procedures. RNs are strongly encouraged to utilize PRN to help solve problems and obtain help with questions and concerns regarding wages, hours, benefits and other working conditions. The PRN Executive Board is available at your request to evaluate and answer/clarify any questions or issues regarding the CBA and its enforcement.
PRN’s goal is to have a Unit Representative from each unit in the Hospital in which PRN- represented RNs work. The representative must be a PRN member. This RN volunteer is selected from the RNs on the unit. The responsibility of the Unit Representative is to act as a conduit between RNs and the Executive Board regarding any issues related to working conditions and/or clinical practice.
Unit Representatives are members of the PRN Executive Council. Through the Council and direct communication with PRN, the Unit Representatives keep the officers informed of Hospital activities, decisions, actions and plans that effect the work life of the RNs.
Membership in PRN is voluntary. However, there are rules of membership maintenance or agency shop that effect employment at the Hospital. These rules are:
1. RNs Hired, Rehired, Reinstated or Re-Entered into the PRN Bargaining Unit Prior to
July 1, 2008:
· Are subject to the Membership Maintenance rule.
· As a condition of employment, once the RN joins PRN she/he must remain a member and
pay membership dues until the “Opt-Out” period.
· The Opt-Out period is specified in the existing CBA.
· Membership dues are paid by payroll deductions each pay period.
· Once an RN leaves the PRN bargaining unit and returns, the RN is subject to the Agency
2. RNs Hired, Rehired, Reinstated or Re-Entered into the PRN Bargaining Unit on or after July 1, 2008:
· Are subject to the Agency Shop rule.
· As a condition of employment, the RN must join PRN and pay membership dues or pay a service fee to PRN in lieu of membership dues.
· Membership dues and service fees are equal in amount. Both are paid by payroll deductions each pay period.
· The RN must submit a payroll deduction card within the first thirty-one (31) days of employment. This is usually done during the first day of Hospital orientation.
· An RN who chooses not to join PRN and elects to pay service fees is ineligible to attend PRN meetings or vote on any PRN issues including accepting/rejecting a proposed new CBA.
Why Labor Organizations?
“Long ago we stated the reason for labor organizations. We said that they were organized out of the necessities of the situation; that a single employee was helpless in dealing with an employer; that he was dependent ordinarily on his daily wage for the maintenance of himself and family; that if the employer refused to pay him the wages that he thought fair, he was nevertheless unable to leave the employer and resist arbitrary and unfair treatment; that union was essential to give laborers opportunity to deal on equality with their employer.”
Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes
U.S. Supreme Court in NLRB v. Jones & Laughlin Steel Co.
310 U.S. 1@33
History of PRN
1966-1969: The RNs at El Camino Hospital were represented by the California Nurses’ Association. In 1969, the RNs decided to decertify CNA and form their own labor organization. They called the new organization the El Camino Hospital Staff Nurses’ Association.
1969-1978: The ECH-SNA met every two (2) years with the Hospital’s CEO and developed a
new contract. The activities of the nurses’ association were heavily influenced by the Hospital.
1979: The RNs decided to create a separation between the Hospital and the Association. The name was changed to Professional Resource for Nurses (PRN) and the RNs prepared for negotiations on a new contract in 1980.
1980: The Hospital refused to negotiate in good faith with PRN. This resulted in a lawsuit filed by PRN. Ultimately, PRN was recognized as the exclusive collective bargaining representatives for clinical RNs at ECH.
1980-1987: PRN successfully negotiated new contracts with the Hospital every two (2) years. The Hospital then gave the same wage increases, benefits and other working conditions to all the other employees. In 1986, the Hospital decided to treat other Hospital employees differently than the RNs.
1987: PRN filed suit to increase the bargaining unit by adding all non-management RNs to the PRN
1987-1993: PRN continued to successfully bargain for new contracts. PRN won the lawsuit, but the Hospital appealed the decision. The RNs were not added to the bargaining unit.
1993: The Hospital was “de-districted” and merged with Sunnyvale Medical Clinic (renamed Camino Medical Group) and Shoreline Medical Group (soon desolved) to form Camino Healthcare. PRN won the appeal on the lawsuit and Camino Healthcare decided not to appeal further. Due to the change in corporate structure, the Hospital was no longer under the jurisdiction of the courts for
1994-1997: PRN was successful in negotiating new 1-year contracts in 1994 and 1995 that incorporated the clinic RNs into the bargaining unit. In 1996, the relationship between PRN and the Hospital broke down. The Hospital failed to bargain in good faith and unilaterally declared an impasse. They walked away from the bargaining table. PRN filed an unfair labor practice complaint. At the same time, the merger between CMG and ECH was breaking down. The district board filed a lawsuit against Camino Healthcare to take back the Hospital. As the only organized group at ECH, PRN took a leadership role in returning the Hospital to the district. Meanwhile, PRN won the unfair labor practice complaint and the Hospital was ordered to return to the bargaining table and bargain in good faith on a new CBA.
1997: On January 1, 1997, the Hospital was re-districted. The CMG separated and the clinic RNs were no longer eligible for PRN representation. In an agreement between the PRN President and the Hospital CEO, bargaining began on a settlement agreement. PRN and ECH agreed to use “Interest- Based Bargaining (IBB) techniques in all future bargaining.
1997-present: During the 1998 negotiations, the PRN bargaining was increased to include all non- administrative, non-management, non-supervisory RNs (in accordance with the 1987 court ruling). PRN and ECH continue to successfully bargain new CBAs using the IBB methodology. This is extraordinary in RN/Hospital labor relations.
Interest-Based Bargaining (IBB)
Traditional bargaining involves each party individually developing proposals and counterproposals. These are often based on conflicting information and perceived needs and desires. IBB brings the parties together to mutually identify interests, issues, needs and desires. The process starts with open discussion and sharing of information, including financial data.
PRN describes this process as working from “what we have in common rather than what we have in conflict.” The use of IBB has resulted in several CBAs since 1997 that focus on the needs of both the RNs and management. The wages, benefits and working conditions have consistently improved over the years. We may not always been the “highest paid” RNs in the area, but we have the best overall working conditions. This is embodied in our consistent high RN satisfaction rates and the Hospital’s Magnet certification by ANCC.
Your Rights Under the 1959 Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA), as amended
As a member of PRN, you have rights in relations to union activities and participation. An abridged summary of these rights is:
1. Equal rights in nominating candidates for union office, voting in union elections and referendums, and attending and participating in membership meetings.
2. Freedom of speech and assembly.
3. Rights regarding dues, initiation fees, and assessments.
4. Right to sue.
5. Safeguards against arbitrary discipline.
6. Right to copies of collective bargaining agreements.
7. Right to be informed about LMRDA.
8. Enforcement of members’ rights.
9. Rights relating to union reports.
10. Right to democratic union elections.
11. Freedom from discipline for exercising rights.
12. Freedom from force or violence in exercising rights.
For a complete summary of your rights related to union activities and participation please contact
PRN Constitution and Bylaws
Originally developed and adopted by the membership in 1980, the PRN Constitution and Bylaws have been periodically revised.