SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — The approximately 80 registered nurses of Vibra Hospital of Western Massachusetts, represented by the Massachusetts Nurses Association (MNA), voted Tuesday to ratify a new union contract that adds workplace violence and gender identity protections, and increases wages to help boost nurse recruitment and retention.
The new, three-year agreement took just two bargaining sessions to negotiate and replaces the MNA contract that expired February 28, 2017. It includes the following improvements:
· Workplace Violence: New contract language includes a section protecting staff by removing their last name from badges.
· Anti-Discrimination Language: The new language adds gender identity or gender expression to the protected categories in the MNA contract, thereby affirming full rights and protection from discrimination. The contract also expands the definition of pronouns beyond “he/she” to include persons identified with non-binary genders.
· Improved RN Wages: A 1.5 percent across-the-board wage increase for all MNA members is accompanied by the addition of four new steps to the top of MNA salary scale. These additional 2 percent steps will serve to help Vibra retain and reward the hospital’s most experienced nurses. The agreement also increases the wage differentials for evening, night and weekend shifts between 17 percent and 50 percent. These increases will help ensure Vibra has the RNs the hospital needs to provide safe, high-quality patient care.
Founded in 1903, the Massachusetts Nurses Association is 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.