News & Events

MNA Nurses at Boston’s Tufts Medical Center Overwhelmingly Vote in Favor of Ratifying New 18-Month Contract Agreement

The 1,400 registered nurses of Tufts Medical Center in Boston, who are represented by the Massachusetts Nurses Association, voted overwhelmingly on Monday, June 26 to ratify their newest contract settlement. The 18-month agreement brings with it highly competitive wage increases, an extremely desirable Baylor Plan intended to help recruit nurses to work weekend shifts, and an incentive plan for nurses who commit to working 48 hours per week for 12 weeks.

“Hospitals elsewhere are seeing considerable turnover in their nurses,” said Mary Havlicek Cornacchia. “This is largely because nurses don’t want to work in the current conditions where they are constantly caring for too many patients at once. But it’s also because nurses can very easily go elsewhere right now and find work with better pay and benefits.  When you have better pay and benefits, you can attract new nurses and keep existing nurses.

“Our goal with the contract we just ratified is to create this very scenario. We want new nurses to come to Tufts and we want our experienced nurses to stay at Tufts, and as a result, our patients will benefit,” added Havlicek Cornacchia.

Highlights from the new agreement include:

·       A 15% wage increase over the 18 months of the contract. Immediately after ratification, in the first subsequent paycheck, nurses will receive a 10% across-the-board increase. An additional 2.5% increase will be added in both February 2024 and September 2024. “This makes us more than competitive,” said Havlicek Cornacchia. “Nurses at the top step of our wage scale will be earning $90.72 per hour.”


·       The creation of a “Baylor Plan.” Baylor Plans, a highly effective staffing option used to encourage nurses to work weekend shifts,  were originally created in the 1980s but fell out of favor with hospital management teams over the years. In the instance of Tufts’ newest contract, the Baylor Plan will provide 36 hours of pay to nurses who work 24 hours on the weekend. In addition, these nurses will receive benefits equal to a 36-hour per week employee. These positions help reduce the rotation of nurses to cover weekend shifts allowing more consistent time off to spend with their families.


·       An incentive payment of $3,000 for those who commit to work 48 hours per week for 12 weeks. This provides an incentive to regular staff to fill in for temporary vacancies, avoiding the use of traveler nurses and providing continuity of patient care.


The overall length of this contract is also viewed as a benefit by Tufts nurses. “Several other area hospitals will be negotiating new contracts during this timeframe,” said Havlicek Cornacchia “It’s important we do not fall behind and eliminate the work we’ve just done to create a work environment with competitive salaries and benefits for recruiting and retaining our Tufts nurses. With a shorter contract, we can get back to the table faster and negotiate with those other contracts in mind in order to keep us competitive, properly staffed, and able to care appropriately for our patients.”

In praising the new agreement, MNA President Katie Murphy emphasized that the ultimate solution to the recruitment and retention of nursing staff in all hospitals in the commonwealth is for nurses to have safe, enforceable limits on the number of patients they are assigned. “The current competitive environment for nurses is the direct result of years of deliberate understaffing of nurses as a profit-generating strategy, which was exacerbated by the stress of working without proper support during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Murphy. “If nurses are forced to risk their licenses and the safety of their patients under current conditions, hospitals are having to pay more to entice nurses to work in our hospitals.”

The MNA’s position on this situation was validated by its annual “State of Nursing in Massachusetts Survey,” which reported an all-time high number of nurses saying hospital care quality has gotten worse over the past two years. The survey has tracked this number since 2014, when it was 38%. In 2023, 85% of nurses saw care quality decline, up two points from last year, 30 points from 2021, and 46 points from 2019. This troubling trend tracks with survey results showing increased numbers of nurses who do not have enough time to give their patients the care and attention they need and who are forced to care for too many patients at one time. In 2023, 72% of nurses saw both of those issues as “major challenges,” up 11 and 13 points from 2021.

Newer nurses are disproportionately feeling the impact. Sixty-three percent of nurses with zero to five years of experience say understaffing is their biggest obstacle to providing quality care, compared to 56% of all nurses. Of those nurses planning to leave the field within two years, 67% of newer nurses say they will find work outside of healthcare, compared to 31% of all nurses. Newer nurses are even more likely to support legislation the MNA has proposed to address the underlying causes of the nursing crisis. Ninety-seven percent of nurses with 0 to five years of experience say they “strongly support” limiting the number of patients a nurse is assigned at one time, compared to 76% of all nurses.