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UMass Memorial Nurses Ratify One Year Contract, Get Pay Raise

Tuesday, June 16, 2015


More than 2,200 nurses represented by the Massachusetts Nurses Association (MNA) from UMass Memorial and UMass University campuses in Worcester have voted to ratify on a one-year contract that will give the nurses a pay raise, staffing improvements, and a “Respectful Relationship” clause to improve patient care and overall working environment.

“We have started to see signs of a change in management’s attitude and treatment of nurses and this contract codifies a real commitment to continue that process in the coming year,” said Ellen Smith, Co-chair of the MNA local bargaining unit for the 1,238 nurses on the University campus. “We hope this contract signals a new chapter in our relationship with hospital management.”

“The nurses are relieved to have reached this settlement without the rancor and discord of previous negotiations, and the staffing improvements included in this contract should help improve the quality of care for the patients who depend on this hospital,” said Lynne Starbard, RN, co-chair of the MNA local bargaining unit representing the 976 nurses on the Memorial/Hahnemann campus.

Highlights of the new agreement include (via Massachusetts Nurses Association):

  • A commitment to add nurses to the STAT team on both campuses. The STAT team consists of experienced nurses who support nurses on the various floors, by providing care and support for critically ill patients in the emergency department, responding to patients experiencing a code, and providing IV therapy to complex patients to help compensate for the loss of the dedicated IV therapy team. The hospital has also agreed to fill all vacant nursing positions within 90 days, which will help meet the commitment in the contract to place safe limits on nurses’ patient assignments.
  • Both management and nurses are beginning a process of addressing staffing issues and developing improved care processes in the busy emergency departments for both campuses.
  • The contract calls for the MNA to work with management and the union representing the support staff at the hospital to develop a plan together for improving all levels of care delivery. Nurses have been very concerned about the negative impact on patient care caused by severe cuts to valuable support staff over the last two years.
  • The new contracts include a novel “Respectful Relationship” clause which calls for a defined process for the union and management to meet over the coming year to address outstanding grievances and to proactively address ongoing concerns related to staffing and workplace issues.
  • The contract also provides the nurses with an across the board salary increase of 1 percent, with no reduction in benefits and assures the contract scales for both campuses will be the same.

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