News & Events

Nurses Reject Major Hospital Takeaways

N.A.R.H. Attacks Retirement and Health Benefits

In negotiations this week the Massachusetts Nurses Association bargaining unit negotiating committee rejected another set of major takeaways put forward by management. In talks that have been going on since January of this year management has consistently put forward proposals that would strip RNs of benefits they have fought for over the past 25 years.

"We have fought too hard, for too long to sit across the table and give in on these important issues," said Mary McConnell RN, Co-Chair of the bargaining unit. "At a time when the financial situation has been looking much better they are asking us to give up more. In the last fiscal year their bottom line was much better than the year before. It just doesn’t make any sense to go after those of us who are providing quality care our patients are accustomed to and deserve."

The hospital’s opening proposal sought to end the defined benefit pension plan while providing a small increase in the defined contribution. "This is an area where we are standing firm. Our members are adamant that they will not see their pension in jeopardy. We also see out retirement plan as a major draw in recruiting new nurses," said McConnell.

On health insurance the hospital is seeking to remove the language "Equivalent or better" from the contract sections that cover health insurance. By using this language we are seeking to guarantee we will continue to receive the same benefits if management makes ANY changes in health insurance. Without this phrase NARH could make changes without discussion with the nurses union.

In a move that would have a very negative affect on patient care management is seeking to double the amount of time RNs can be held over on mandatory overtime. While national studies have shown that patient safety suffers the longer a nurse works, management wants to expand mandatory overtime from 2 to 4 hours. "We are not only struggling to retain our hard fought for benefits, we are fighting to protect the quality of health care at the hospital. If management was to get these takeaways it could have a very negative effect on the hospital’s ability to retain and recruit experienced nurses," said McConnell.