Three-year pact mirrors settlement reached with University Campus RNs
WORCESTER, MA – The registered nurses represented by the Massachusetts Nurses Association at UMass/Memorial Health Care who work at the Memorial Hospital Campus, Hahnemann Campus, and the Home Health and Hospice Campus cast an overwhelming vote (99 percent in favor) on Jan. 5 to ratify a new three-year contract.
In marked contrast to the recent negotiations with nurses on the University campus, the Massachusetts Nurses Association local bargaining unit on the Memorial campus negotiated an agreement in just three months, reaching a settlement that mirrors the one reached by the University campus RNs, while addressing the nurses’ long-standing desire to win pay parity for nurses working in the Memorial systems’ Home Health and Hospice settings.
“We are very pleased that UMass administration avoided repeating protracted and contentious negotiations experienced at the university campus and instead has worked with us to quickly resolve this contract. This agreement protects all our rights and benefits while also granting pay parity for our home health and hospice nurses, which has been a goal of this bargaining unit for years,” said Jackie Brosnihan, chair of the bargaining unit. “This agreement will allow us to recruit and retain the staff we need to provide quality care for our patients.”
The three-year agreement runs from Jan. 1, 2007 to Dec. 31, 2009. The pact includes the following key provisions:
- Maintains the current defined benefit pension for nurses currently employed. Newly hired nurses may choose the defined benefit pension or an enhanced defined contribution plan.
- Provides a health insurance premium with an 80 – 20 cost share for both full time and part time nurses.
- Provides a 15-step salary scale with 5 percent annual step raises, as well as a cost-of-living adjustment in each year of the contract. The starting hourly wage step at the end of the contract will be $27.77 up from $24.82 with a top wage step of $56.12 up from $50.86.
- In the beginning of the last year of agreement, the home health and hospice nurses will be transitioned onto the same scale as the hospital nurses, thereby assuring there is one scale for the RN’s in the bargaining unit regardless of what particular area of specialty they are working in. Prior to the agreement, nurses who provided home health and hospice care were paid as much as $4 per hour less than their counterparts working in the hospital setting.
The 1,026 nurses of the UMMC/Memorial Campus began negotiations on the new contract on Sep. 26, 2006, with a tentative agreement reached on Dec, 19, 2006.