RNs reach parity with other Cambridge Health Alliance hospitals, establishing equitable pay scales for Nurse Practitioners and other Health Professionals seen as successes
Everett, Mass.—Registered nurses (RNs) and other health care professionals represented by the Massachusetts Nurses Association (MNA) at Everett’s Whidden Hospital recently voted to ratify a new 27 month contract. The new contract provides the RN’s, and other health care professionals, parity with employees of the other Cambridge Health Alliance (CHA) hospitals, Cambridge Hospital and Somerville Hospital. The settlement comes after over two years of negotiations. The MNA represents all 191 Whidden registered nurses and health care professionals, including nurse practitioners, physical therapists, pharmacists, medical technologists, occupational therapists, and social workers.
According to Joanne Hill, RN and chairperson of Whidden’s MNA bargaining unit, the ratified contract provided extra satisfaction because of the complicated nature of the situation at Whidden following its 2001 merger with Malden Hospital and its subsequent merger into the Cambridge Health Alliance system. "Given the variety of types of professionals to be included in the contract, it was a long an difficult process to fairly integrate our collective bargaining agreement with those of our colleagues in the CHA network, but ultimately we attained a worthwhile and equitable agreement for all the health care professionals at Whidden."
The key provisions of the agreement are:
- RNs receive pay parity with RNs at other CHA facilities (Cambridge and Somerville Hospitals).
- RNs will receive increases of approximately 25% to 29%. Included are step increases effective on their anniversary date each year.
- Health care professionals included in the contract and established a step scale with yearly increases on their anniversary date of hire.
- Nurse practitioners included in the contract and established a step scale with yearly increases on their anniversary date of hire.
"Our top priority was retaining seasoned professional staff," Hill said, "which results in better quality patient care. This contract will also help us to recruit new employees and the balance of
retention and recruitment allows us to deliver great care to the community." Chairperson Hill thanked all those who played a role in the positive outcome. "The bargaining committee would like to thank the community as well as the state and city leaders who supported us through phone calls and letters."
The provisions of the ratified contract are retroactive to April 2003. The contract expires in June of this year and the Whidden MNA unit is looking forward to working with the MNA units at Cambridge and Somerville Hospitals. "It will be exciting to negotiate along side the professionals from the other hospitals in the Cambridge Health Alliance. Coordinating our efforts can only improve working conditions at the Whidden hospital which will result in better quality patient care," said Hill.