The 300 Registered Nurses at Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital, members of the nurses’ union PASNAP, voted unanimously to ratify a new contract that maintains one of the best overall pay and benefits packages in the Philadelphia area.
During meetings last week, members voted to approve the new three-year agreement. The union and the hospital concluded negotiations this past Wednesday evening after several long sessions at the bargaining table.
Highlights of agreement, effective Nov. 7, 2013, are as follows:
A new staffing committee, which includes one nurse from each unit that will meet monthly to better report and resolve staffing issues at the hospital
Wage increases of 2% each of the 3 years, combined with experienced-based wage increases: most nurses will see a wage increase of 9-11% over the course of the contract; increased base rate will range from $29.80 per hour for new hires to $48.13 per hour for experienced nurses
Reasonable health insurance cost increases: most nurses will pay approximately 11% of the overall premium cost with the employer paying the balance
Improvement in tuition reimbursement from $3,000 to $4,000, and $5,000 for graduate tuition.
In addition to winning improved wages, benefits, and working conditions, the nurses at Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital welcomed 9 formerly unrepresented case managers into the union with full parity on wages, health care, pension, and all other aspects of the contract. The case managers’ inclusion in the bargaining unit represents a noteworthy victory for union solidarity and serves as a successful model for other unorganized workers in the area.
“Throughout negotiations, we kept our focus on safer patient care, while preserving the high standards for nurses that we as a union have fought for and won over the years,” said Marci Keating, PACU nurse and president of the local union. “We are especially happy to share this victory with our 9 brand new members.”
Bill Cruice, the union’s executive director and lead negotiator praised the new agreement, “With this contract, the dedicated nurses at Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital have in writing what most nurses in the Philadelphia area hope for every day: excellent pay and benefits and the ability to effectively engage with their management to improve conditions for patients and nurses.