Anna Jaques Hospital Nurses Ratify New Contract
Three-year pact includes 14% - 25% pay hike
NEWBURYPORT , MA — The registered nurses represented by the Massachusetts Nurses Association at Anna Jaques Hospital in Newburyport have ratified a new three-year contract that provides wage increases of 14 percent - 25 percent, along with improvements to the nurses’ health insurance benefits. It also includes a provision to improve staffing conditions for nurses and language to protect nurses union rights.
“We are thrilled to have reached a settlement that will provide a competitive pay raise, enhanced benefits and improvements in staffing to help ensure that this hospital can recruit and retain the nursing staff needed to provide first rate patient care,” said Lisa Cyr-Wilmot, RN, a staff nurse at the hospital and co-chair of the nurses’ local bargaining unit.
The three-year agreement runs from Nov. 4, 2007 to Nov. 6, 2010. The pact includes the following key provisions:
- Salary Increase – Provides a 14 percent salary increase across the board (4 percent in 2008; 5 percent in year 2009 and 5 percent in year 2010; along with additional adjustments to the nurses’ salary scale), which means nurses’ pay will increase between 14 percent and 25 percent over the life of the agreement depending on years of service. The starting hourly wage at the end of the contract will be $29.74 up from $25.89 with a top wage step of $51.29 up from $40.80. It will also increase hourly pay differentials for nurses who work on evening and on call shifts.
- Safe Staffing – To improve patient care, the hospital also agreed to work with the MNA to create a new team of “Rapid Response/STAT RNs.” These nurses will be on hand to assist nurses throughout the hospital where and when there is a need, such as with excessive assignments, admissions and complex cases.
- Health Insurance – The parties compromised to create a new health insurance benefit package that will provide improved benefits for nurses, while holding down costs for the hospital. The pact allows the nurses to maintain their current HMO insurance plan, with a slight increase in premiums in the last two years of the contract, while enhancing a second insurance option that provides nurses with a health savings account, with lower premiums and the ability to see specialists without the need for referrals. It also provides financial incentives for participants meeting specific health goals, and improved premiums for nurses working less than 30 hours per week.
- Protection of Union Rights – The nurses won contract language that protects union rights for nurses at the facility and their ability to advocate for patients. The language prevents the hospital from exploiting a recent controversial ruling by the National Labor Relations Board, which found that charge nurses (nurses who oversee the flow of patients on a floor) or nurses who perform charge duties may be classified as supervisors, and are thereby ineligible for union membership. The new language clearly recognizes the union rights of all nurses in the union.
The 315 nurses of Anna Jaques Hospital began negotiations on the new contract in August 2007, with a tentative agreement reached on March 20, 2008.