News & Events

RNs at the Northeast Health Corp. Ratify New Contract

Three-year agreement provides pay increases of 16 – 22%, new contract language to protect the health and safety of nurses and landmark language to protect nurses’ union rights

Boston, MA – The registered nurses represented by the Massachusetts Nurses Association (MNA) at Northeast Health Corp. (NHC) recently ratified a new three-year contract that provides wage increases of 16 – 22 percent. It also includes new contract language designed to prevent workplace violence, reduce workplace injuries for nurses and includes landmark language to protect nurses’ union rights. The agreement covers 585 nurses who work at Beverly Hospital, Addison Gilbert Hospital in Gloucester and the Hunt Center in Danvers.

“We are very pleased to have reached an agreement that will provide a competitive pay scale with other North Shore hospitals, while also providing important initiatives that will make our workplace safer for nurses,” said Sandy Murray, RN, a staff nurse at the hospital and co-chair of the nurses’ local bargaining unit. “This contract also includes new language to protect and enhance our union rights and the ability of our nurses to have a strong voice to advocate for patients.”

The three-year agreement runs from Oct. 28, 2006 to Oct. 31, 2009. The pact includes the following key provisions:

  • Salary Increase – Provides a 12 percent salary increase across the board (5 percent in year 1; 3 percent in year 2 and 3.25 percent in year 3; along with additional adjustments to the nurses’ salary scale), which means nurses’ pay will increase between 16 and 22 percent over the life of the agreement depending on years of service. The starting hourly wage at the end of the contract will be $27 up from $24.15 with a top wage step of $50.32 up from $43.31.
  • Health & Safety Protections – The nurses won new contract language to reduce common workplace injuries for nurses, who are injured on the job more than construction workers and assaulted on the job more than police officers and prison guards. The contract includes new “ergonomic” policies to reduce injuries caused by moving patients, including the use of special lifting devices and other methods of assisting nurses in safe patient handling. A workplace violence provision calls for the hospital to implement policies to detect and remove weapons from patients and visitors, improved security procedures in case of a threat of workplace violence and the provision of escorts for nurses to their cars during the evening and night shifts. Finally, the hospital has agreed to work with the nurses to create a latex-free environment, as allergies from latex present a serious health risk to nurses and other employees.
  • 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, the first of its kind for hospitals on the North Shore, 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 NHC nurses began negotiations on the new contract on Aug. 1, 2006, with a tentative agreement reached on Jan. 15, 2007 and voted to ratify the agreement on Feb. 1, 2007.