CONCORD -- Registered nurses at John Muir Medical Center, Concord have a new three-year contract that the groups says strengthens patient care and protects their own health coverage.

Nurses will receive a 7.5 percent pay increase over three years and recover $500 to pay for training required by law to maintain their licenses.

The Concord John Muir pact covers 700 nurses who are members of the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United Nurses. The group voted in favor of the contract Tuesday night, according to a news release.

The agreement includes "safe nurse-to-patient staffing at all times, and strengthens safe 'floating' policies, which ensures that nurses aren't assigned outside their area of clinical expertise," according to the release.

Nurses say provisions for their own health care coverage is a key victory. Hospital management wanted to eliminate a provision that waives employer and dependent contributions to health care premiums for nurses who are major wage earners, according to the release; nurses retain that provision, while maintaining their existing health insurance options.

Nurses at hospitals in Berkeley, Oakland, Castro Valley, Antioch and Vallejo haver started voting on their tentative agreements; results for those votes are expected to be announced Friday.

Contact Elisabeth Nardi at 925-952-2617. Follow her at Twitter.com/enardi10.