News & Events

RNs at the New England Medical Center Ratify New Contract

Two-year pact includes 11 – 16% pay hike, new retiree health benefit and language to protect nurses’ union rights

Boston, MA – The registered nurses represented by the Massachusetts Nurses Association at New England Medical Center recently ratified a new two-year contract that provides wage increases of 11-16 percent, establishes a new retiree health insurance benefit and includes contract language to protect nurses’ union rights.

“We are very pleased to have reached an agreement that will provide a competitive pay scale with other Boston hospitals, while also creating a new retiree health insurance benefit, making us the first non- Partners-affiliated hospital in the city to offer this benefit,” said Nancy Gilman, RN, a critical care nurse at the hospital and co-chair of the nurses’ local bargaining unit. “This contract also includes important language changes, specifically language to protect and enhance our union rights and the ability of our nurses to have a strong voice to advocate for patients.

The two-year agreement runs from Oct. 1, 2006 to Oct. 31, 2008. The pact includes the following key provisions:

  • Salary Increase – Provides a 6 percent salary increase across the board while adding a new step to the top of the salary scale, which means nurses’ pay will increase between 11 and 16 percent depending on years of service. The starting hourly wage at the end of the contract will be $29.46 up from $26.40 with a top wage step of $58.23 up from $52.23.
  • Retiree Health Benefit – Establishes a Retiree Medical Savings Account (RMSA). RNs are eligible to participate in the RMSA beginning at age 50 and continuing to age 65 provided they retain a regular full or part-time position. The RMSA will allow regular full and part-time RNs to contribute up to $4,500 per year into the account on a post-tax basis with an employer match of 20 percent to a cap of $400 per year and a lifetime cap of $6,000. Participating RNs will be eligible to continue in a group medical insurance plan maintained by the hospital at retirement.
  • 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.
  • Protection of Health Insurance and Sick Time Benefits – the union was able to prevent proposed increases in the nurses’ health insurance contributions as well as cuts to their sick and holiday time.

The 1100 nurses of New England Medical Center began negotiations on the new contract on Sept. 16, 2006, with a tentative agreement reached on Jan. 14, 2007.