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Tufts nurses ratify 18-month accord

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Tufts nurses ratify 18-month accord

By Robert Weisman
May 20, 2011

Unionized nurses voted overwhelmingly yesterday to ratify a new 18-month contract with Tufts Medical Center in Boston.

Negotiators for the Massachusetts Nurses Association and the downtown hospital, a 415-bed affiliate of Tufts Medical School, reached agreement on the pact on May 5, only hours before 1,100 registered nurses were set to walk off their jobs.

Tufts said it spent about $2.6 million to hire 200 replacement nurses in anticipation of a strike.

Under the contract, nurses will get a 2 percent wage increase. The hospital will also add “charge nurses’’ to supplement staffing and coordinate patient flow and limit mandatory overtime.

The talks had broken down over the issue of staffing levels. Ultimately, the parties agreed to continue with the hospital’s current staffing practices, except in unusual circumstances. Under those current practices, nurses, on average, care for five or fewer patients on day and evening shifts, no more than six on the night shift, and two in intensive care units.

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