Lawrence General Hospital Nurses Reach Tentative Agreement for New Contract That Includes an Increase in RN Staffing Levels to Ensure Safer Patient Care

Informational Picket Scheduled for June 26 is Canceled

Jun 25, 2014, 12:30 ET from Massachusetts Nurses Association/National Nurses United

LAWRENCE, Mass., June 25, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The registered nurses of Lawrence General Hospital, who are represented by the Massachusetts Nurses Association/National Nurses United, have reached a tentative agreement for a new contract that includes significant increases in RN staffing levels to ensure safer patient limits for nurses, which the nurses had sought to improve the quality of patient care at the hospital. 

The staffing changes include the addition of more than 5 FTEs to the hospital's busy emergency department, and the addition of additional FTEs on the night shift for hospital's medical-surgical units. The agreement also includes a commitment by the hospital to fill holes in the schedule to ensure safe staffing in other units. The changes will mean that nurses in these areas will have fewer patients per nurse to care for, which the medical research shows will result in shorter hospital stays, fewer complications and readmissions, and higher patient satisfaction. 

The two-year pact also includes a 1 percent across the board pay raise in each year of the agreement, and a 1 percent increase for nurses at the top of the pay scale. It also includes protection of the nurses' current time off benefits and improvements in the nurses' health insurance benefit.

The 400 nurses, who are represented by the Massachusetts Nurses Association/National Nurses United, recently engaged a federal mediator in an attempt to break the logjam in negotiations for a new union contract. The parties began negotiations in late October, 2013 and to date 15 sessions have been held. The contract expired on October 7, 2013 but has been extended until June 24, 2014. The new contract will expire on October 2015.

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.

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SOURCE Massachusetts Nurses Association/National Nurses United