Nurses at Stanford and Lucile Packard children’s hospitals who went on strike last week are expected to return to work on Tuesday after their union reached a tentative agreement with Stanford Health Care on Friday.

The deal, if ratified on Sunday, will end the nearly week-long strike that union members had overwhelmingly approved as they negotiated pay raises, increased benefits and venue improvements of work. Nurses said low pay and burnout had contributed to high turnover among certain groups of specialist nurses.

Among their demands were higher nurse-to-patient ratios for “safe staffing” levels, as well as access to mental health counseling and student loan repayment.

“From day one of our contract negotiations, nurses at CRONA have been unified in our goals of improving staffing and making our profession more sustainable,” said Colleen Borges, Packard Hospital Nurse and President. of the Committee for the Recognition of Nursing Achievements, or CRONA. , the union that represents about 5,000 nurses at Stanford.

“We have been strong supporters of our demands for fair contracts that give us the resources and support we need to care for ourselves, our families and our patients. We are proud to provide world-class patient care – and we are happy that hospitals have finally listened to us,” Borges said in a statement.

Stanford Health Care and CRONA have tentatively agreed to a three-year contract that includes a 7% increase this year and a 5% increase in each of the next two years. The deal includes provisions that would require staffing levels to be based on the amount of patient care needed and ensure that nurses caring for acute patients can take breaks for meals and rest. Some of those nurses will receive additional pay, CRONA said in a statement.

The tentative agreement also contains assurances of better access to mental health treatment, an extra week of vacation, better medical benefits for retirees and help with student loans. Stanford has agreed to create a new workplace violence incident response team, according to the union.

Stanford officials had said that without a settlement, striking nurses’ benefits and pay would be suspended starting Sunday.

In a statement Saturday, Dale E. Betty, chief nursing officer and vice president of patient care services at Stanford Health Care, and Jesus Cepero, senior vice president of patient care and chief nursing officer at Stanford Children’s Health, said said they were “extremely delighted”. ” that a provisional agreement had been reached. “Awaiting ratification, we really look forward to welcoming our colleagues on Tuesday.”

Hospitals remained open during the week as nurses picketed outside, but Stanford officials said they had to cut or postpone some medical procedures, including surgeries and chemotherapy amid negotiations for work.

“CRONA nurses know our worth,” Borges said in a statement. “This contract recognizes our sacrifices and contributions. The CRONA bargaining team is proud to present this contract to our fellow nurses for a vote. To all the patients, community members and elected officials who stood with us on the picket line, we are grateful for your support.

Andy Picon (he/him) is a writer for the San Francisco Chronicle. Email: [email protected]: @andpicon