42 California nurses made $1 million each in 6 years
December 19, 2011
State records show that as California struggles to cope with widening budget deficits, some 42 state nurses have each earned over $1 million each over the past six years. [BusinessJournal]
Collectively, the group has made $47.5 million effectively tripling their regular compensation primarily through overtime. Of the 6,000 nurses working in the state’s prisons and mental health system, 83 percent received overtime last year.
Jean Keller, a nurse at the California Men’s Colony in San Luis Obispo, was the highest-paid nurse in California making $269,810 while the national average for annual pay for a registered nurse is $67,720, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics.
Union officials told Bloomberg they have urged the state corrections and mental health officials to improve scheduling and hiring practices to cut back on the need for overtime.
“We actually have looked at this and tried very hard to get them to understand that mandatory and even voluntary overtime is not the way to go,” it quoted said Nancy Lyerla, former chairwoman of the bargaining unit for prison nurses at the Service Employees International Union Local 1000 to Bloomberg. “It’s very expensive. We recognize that and have had lengthy discussions with them about that.”