New contracts improve staffing, wages, benefits

25 Aug

From the far north to the far southwest of Minnesota, MNA nurses are winning new contracts that improve staffing, wages, and benefits. Nurses reached out and received community support in their communities to show employers that citizens support nurses.

Nurses at Rainy Lake Medical Center in International Falls, Fairview Lakes Medical Center in Wyoming,  Sanford Worthington Medical Center, and Fairview Range Regional Health Services in Hibbing have all voted to ratify new contracts in the last month.

International Falls. It took nearly a year of standing strong for a fair contract that protects safe patient care, but Rainy Lake Medical Center nurses approved a tentative agreement and have a new contract this month.

negotiators after ratify

“The community’s support was key for reaching a fair contract and was greatly appreciated,” said Bargaining Unit Co-Chair Wendy Sutch. “The signs posted in businesses, homes, and car windows throughout the community show the public understands the important role that nurses play in patient care and safety.”

The new contract includes a 5.5 percent wage increase over the three-year contract.

Fairview Lakes. Nurses at Fairview Lakes Medical Center in  Wyoming, MN, were less than a week away from informational picketing when they reached a tentative agreement with management.

tina thompson Dianne Faith

“We achieved a good contract because members stood together,” said Bargaining Unit Co-Chair Sue Kreitz.

“Signs in local businesses, stickers, a giant ‘sympathy card’ for management, a video showing the unequal treatment of clinic nurses, and an imminent informational picket sent a clear message we were standing up for a fair contract that benefits staff, patients, and our community,” said Bargaining Unit Co-Chair Sandie Anderson.

The new contract makes progress toward addressing scheduling concerns, provides for required reviews of staffing levels and guidelines, and maintains hard-fought-for benefits, all of which will enable the hospital and clinic to attract and retain nurses.

Sanford Worthington. Community support was essential in securing a new three-year contract in Worthington.

“Worthington area residents showed they value nurses and the important role we play in the community by displaying ‘We Support Our Nurses’ signs in their yards and businesses, and voicing support and appreciation wherever they could,” said Bargaining Unit Co-Chair Nancy Ihrke.

theanne and brittany schitl

“We stood up for a fair contract that attracts and retains quality nurses,” said Bargaining Unit Co-Chair Monica McCoy.

The new contract includes a 5.5 percent wage increase over the three-year contract and members retained all benefits.

Hibbing. Fairview Range nurses won 4.5 percent raises over the three-year contract in the wage-only negotiations.

“Members agreed to discuss wages in these negotiations so we could work for the next three years on improving safe staffing,” said Negotiating Team member Jon  Wesley.

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