News & Events

Tufts Medical Center RNs Ratify New Contract

P R E S S    R E L E A S E

For Immediate Release    Contact: Barbara Tiller, RN 508-241-8215

May 19, 2011                               David Schildmeier 781-249-0430

Tufts Medical Center RNs Ratify New Contract

Pact Provides Nurses with Staffing Improvements, Limits on Patient Assignments in Key Areas, and Strict Limits on the Use of Mandatory Overtime as a Staffing Tool

BOSTON, MA — The registered nurses of Tufts Medical Center cast an overwhelming vote today to ratify a new 18-month contract that includes a number of staffing improvements sought by the nurses to improve patient care at the facility.

“We are proud of this agreement and what it will mean for the patients we care for every day,” said Barbara Tiller, RN, co-chair of the nurses’ local bargaining unit. “Our nurses made a courageous stand for safe staffing and working conditions, and the hospital responded with improvements that we believe will enhance our ability to deliver the care our patients expect and deserve.”

The 18-month agreement runs from May 18, 2011 to Nov.19, 2012. The pact includes the following key provisions:

  • Increased staffing with limits on nurses’ patient assignments in a number of areas – The hospital has agreed to limit patient assignments for nurses working on the medical-surgical floors to six patients on the night shift, and to no more than two patients in the intensive care units. The hospital has also agreed to language in the contract that assures they will not move to a six patient assignment for medical-surgical nurses on the day and evening shifts for the life of the agreement. The hospital has also agreed to convert a number of temporary travel nurses’ positions to core staff, which will further improve care on a number of units and has increased positions in its float pool, which will provide nursing support to overburdened units.
  • The addition of charge nurses with limited assignments to a number of the hospital’s busiest medical surgical floors on day and evening shifts – These nurses will supplement core staffing on these units to coordinate the flow of patients in and out of the units, while also providing support to nurses caring for patients with complex needs.
  • Strict limits on mandatory overtime – The hospital has agreed to significantly limit the use of mandatory overtime as a staffing mechanism, allowing nurses to refuse forced overtime if they are too ill to provide safe patient care. No nurse will be required to work more than 16 hours in a single shift, and cannot be assigned more than 12 hours of mandatory overtime in a calendar quarter. The hospital has also agreed to post full schedules to minimize the need for mandatory overtime.
  • Protection from inappropriate floating – The pact provides protections for nurses who are asked to float to other units, with guarantees that they will receive appropriate orientation and are competent to practice in those areas.
  • Wage increase – The pact includes a 2% across-the-board wage increase for all nurses upon ratification.

The nurses began negotiating a new contract with Tufts Medical Center management in September of 2010 and a total of 19 negotiating sessions were held, with a tentative agreement reached on May 5, just hours before the nurses were set to hold a one day strike on May 6, National Nurses Day.

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Founded in 1903, the Massachusetts Nurses Association is the largest professional health care organization and the largest union of registered nurses in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Its 23,000 members advance the nursing profession by fostering high standards of nursing practice, promoting the economic and general welfare of nurses in the workplace, projecting a positive and realistic view of nursing, and by lobbying the Legislature and regulatory agencies on health care issues affecting nurses and the public. The MNA is also a founding member of National Nurses United, the largest national nurses union in the United States with more than 150,000 members from coast to coast.