NEWTON, Mass. — The nearly 1,000 nurses of Newton-Wellesley Hospital, who are represented by the Massachusetts Nurses Association/National Nurses United (MNA/NNU), voted Wednesday to ratify a new union contract, finalizing a deal made late last month that averted a potential strike.
The agreement, negotiated on March 25, covers a two-and-half-year period starting Oct. 1, 2015. It will expire March 31, 2018. Patient care improvements were the top priority for NWH nurses, who fought for those proposals, along with better working conditions and a fair wage increase, over the course of the seven-month negotiations.
Highlights of the agreement include: A new “Stat Team” of nurses to assist with patient care when nurses face additional work; restrictions on charge nurse patient assignments to keep charge nurses free to effectively coordinate patient care and assist other nurses; a 2 percent across-the-board wage increase spread over a two-and-a-half-year period, along with the completion of what is now a half salary step at the top of the scale; adjustments to health insurance; and an increase in the amount of planned time off available to nurses in each hospital unit.
NWH nurses have vowed to keep fighting for better patient care and nurse staffing conditions, and a more respectful work environment from Partners HealthCare, the largest and most profitable health care employer in Massachusetts.