BOSTON, July 20, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The 3,300 Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) nurses, represented by the Massachusetts Nurses Association (MNA), voted Wednesday, July 20 to ratify a tentative contract agreement reached last month that averted what would have been an historic one-day nurses' strike.
Brigham nurses voted overwhelmingly to approve a three-year agreement that protects safe patient care, enhances hospital security, successfully fights off attempts to implement non-union benefits for new nurses and includes a fair wage increase.
The agreement follows 10 months of negotiations that included a well-organized and unified effort by nurses to stand up for themselves and their patients. In June, nurses voted 95 percent to authorize a one-day strike and then prepared to hold the largest nurses' strike in state history and first in Boston in 30 years. The potential strike was averted one day before it was scheduled through extensive negotiations with a federal mediator.
"We are exceptionally proud of what we accomplished through our unity and with the help of so many supporters," said Trish Powers, RN OR staff nurse and chair of the Massachusetts Nurses Association BWH bargaining unit. "Brigham nurses voted overwhelmingly today in favor of this agreement because it represents a win for patients, for nurses and for the public."
"The ratification of this new contract leaves no doubt that front-line nurses can and should stand up for safe patient care and professional respect," said Kelly Morgan, a labor and delivery nurse and vice chair of the MNA Bargaining Unit. "When a health care employer recognizes that a unionized workplace is a democratic and productive workplace, patients are protected and nurses' voices are heard."
Meanwhile, BWH nurses also stand in solidarity with their fellow MNA nurses at Brigham and Women's Faulkner Hospital (BWFH), who are negotiating a new contract. BWFH nurses plan to hold an informational picket outside their hospital at 1153 Centre St. in Jamaica Plain on Friday, July 22 from 4:30.to 6:30 p.m.Faulkner nurses are fighting over some of the same issues as Brigham nurses, including improved hospital security and safe nurse staffing.
"Brigham nurses stand with their sisters and brothers at Brigham and Women's Faulkner Hospital," Powers said. "Every patient deserves safe and effective care, and every nurse deserves to be valued and respected."
Founded in 1903, the Massachusetts Nurses Association/National Nurses United 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 a founding member of National Nurses United, the largest national nurses' union in the United States with more than 170,000 members from coast to coast.