Nurses to see higher wage increases
Virtua Memorial Hospital’s unionized Nurses have overwhelmingly ratified new, higher wages for the third year of the collective bargaining agreement they settled two years ago.
HPAE Local 5105 President Sheryl Mount said the employer was offering only nominal wage increases in the third year of the contract negotiated in the Fall of 2020, which the local rejected. The gamble paid off and the local was able to negotiate significantly better wage increases up to six times higher than the amount originally proposed by the employer.
“We agreed to a wage reopener for that third and final year of the contract,” Mount said, “because we believe our members deserved more. Our members are sacrificing and risking our health and our lives to work on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. We are doing all that because we care about our patients, our co-workers and our community. Winning a voice in how the hospital allocates resources during a pandemic outbreak was a top priority for us. The achievement of this contract is to know that Virtua Health wants to be a partner in those efforts.”
The contract that Local 5105 agreed with Virtua Health in Fall 2020 was ground breaking because it created a new Pandemic Preparedness Committee, made up of nurses and management, giving nurses a voice in addressing and preparing for challenges of future disease outbreaks. The employer also agreed to provide PPE that meets or exceeds laws or regulations, including those stipulated by the Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration; commitment to training nurses how to use and fit-test them for their PPE.
“At a time that many of our facilities are seeing staffing crises because of worsening working conditions that are exacerbated by a global pandemic, it is important to have an employer willing to partner with nurses in solving some of the staffing challenges,” HPAE President Debbie White, RN, said. “This agreement on third-year wages should help some with retention and recruitment of critically needed nurses.”
Fore more information, contact: Michael Allen, (646) 436-7556.