The strongest part of the new agreement is that it contains no takeaways, nurse union president says.
Nurses at Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center (EMMC) in Bangor, Maine, voted this week to extend their current labor agreement for two years.
This contract makes improvements to staffing, including an agreement that EMMC management will make improvements to critical care departments that nurses at Maine's largest unionized hospital have requested for the past three years, according to a press release from the Maine State Nurses Association (MSNA).
"The pandemic has been incredibly difficult for all healthcare workers," Cokie Giles, RN, MSNA president, said in the press release. "When our management approached us about extending our current contract, we saw an opportunity to make important changes that we have wanted for a long time."
The hospital also voiced satisfaction with the contract.
"We are pleased to reach this agreement with the nurses' union, so we can continue to provide support and stability for our staff, who have skillfully pivoted daily to meet the changing needs of our healthcare environment in response to the global pandemic," Deb Sanford, MBA, MSN, RN, the hospital's vice president of Nursing and Patient Care Services, said in a statement. "Our common focus has always been on caring for our patients, our community, and each other. This agreement highlights the strength in collaboration that I’ve seen all year, as our nurses have come together to provide safe patient care during COVID-19."
The contract reflects the work of the nurses, said Ali Worster, Esq., the hospital's vice president, Human Resources and Patient Experience.
"The changes enhance resources to support our good work, reward them for the skilled care they provide, and allow us to recruit the best and brightest to our ranks into the future," she said. "We were able to reach creative decisions that brought both sides together and ultimately [will] improve the experience of staff and patients."
One of the strongest parts of the agreement is that it doesn’t have any takeaways, Giles said.
"We have a very strong union contract, built over many years," Giles said of the union that represents more than 900 nurses at EMMC. "The foundations of this agreement with EMMC made sure that our patients can get the care they need and that nurses have a real voice at the medical center."
“When our management approached us about extending our current contract, we saw an opportunity to make important changes that we have wanted for a long time.”
Cokie Giles, RN, president, Maine State Nurses Association
Carol Davis is the Nursing Editor at HealthLeaders, an HCPro brand.
Nurses at Maine's largest unionized hospital voted to extend their labor agreement for two years.
Improvements to staffing and critical care are part of the agreement.
The new contract contained no takeaways.