News & Events

Heywood Hospital Nurses Vote to Ratify New MNA Contract Aimed at Stabilizing RN Workforce and Improving Patient Care Conditions

The registered nurses of Heywood Hospital successfully negotiated and ratified a new contract with secured benefits and wage increases to boost recruitment and retention

GARDNER, Mass. – Registered nurses at Heywood Hospital, represented by the Massachusetts Nurses Association (MNA), voted on Thursday, February 22 to ratify a new MNA contract that will help nurses continue to provide high-quality care to community members through strong wage increases, the protection of RN benefits, and other key improvements.

The new contract comes as Heywood Healthcare navigates bankruptcy proceedings and nurses advocate for professional respect and safe patient care amid the system’s financial challenges. With the agreement, nurses are seeking to address a long-standing staffing crisis at Heywood Hospital created by years of stagnating wages and deteriorating benefits.

“By properly valuing the care we provide, the hospital can better recruit and retain the nurses we need to keep up with high demand and an increase in the complexity of patient needs,” said Kim Fuller, Heywood Hospital RN, and Chair of the MNA Bargaining Committee. “We will continue to hold Heywood Healthcare leadership accountable for providing excellent care to all community members in need.”

“Under this contract, nurses know they will receive competitive raises and that their benefits will be protected, which will positively impact morale,” said Jess Downer, Heywood Hospital RN, and MNA Bargaining Committee member. “We are excited to be part of the effort to ensure our community has access to local hospital care far into the future.”

MNA Contract Highlights

  • Duration: The contract begins October 1, 2023 and ends Sep. 30, 2025.
  • Wages: Year 1 – 4% across-the-board (ATB) increase to all wage levels, with retroactive pay; Year 2 – 4% ATB to all wage levels; This equates to 7-8% wage increases for nurses each year of the two-year contract with existing step raises included.
  • Secured Benefits: Heywood nurses successfully negotiated the hospital’s withdrawal of takeaway proposals that would have negatively impacted health insurance, time off requests, and extended sick leave benefits.
  • OR Recovery Time: Operating room nurses who are called in overnight gained protections ensuring they can rest rather than work an immediately following day shift, without loss of pay.
  • On-Call Pay: An increase from $4/hour to $5/hour for nurses on call.
  • Charge Nurse Differential: A .25/hour increase in this differential, recognizing the importance of nurses being available to coordinate patient care assignments, admissions, and discharges, and assist other nurses on their unit.
  • Weekend Differential: The rate for nurses working weekends increased .50/hour.



Founded in 1903, the Massachusetts Nurses Association is the largest union of registered nurses in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Its 25,000 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.