Massachusetts hospital nurses to see across-the-board raises of 15% over 4 years

Registered nurses at Pittsfield, Mass.-based Berkshire Medical Center have approved a contract that includes wage increases, according to hospital and union statements shared with Becker's.

The four-year contract, approved Nov. 1, covers members of the Massachusetts Nurses Association.

Under the agreement, nurses will receive a 3 percent across-the-board wage increase retroactive to Sept. 30, 2021; a 4.5 percent across-the-board wage increase effective Sept. 30, 2022; a 3.5 percent across-the-board wage increase effective Sept. 30, 2023; and a 4 percent across-the-board wage increase effective Sept. 30, 2024, the union said in a Nov. 2 news release. That totals 15 percent over the life of the contract.

The union said the contract also includes adding a new top wage step that is 2 percent higher than the current; a $1,000 or $500 lump sum payment depending on hours worked; and an added allowance to use bereavement leave with the death of a significant others' parent.

In a news release, Alex Neary, a critical care nurse at BMC and co-chair of the BMC union bargaining committee, said the agreement "represents important progress toward addressing the increasingly critical staffing, recruitment and retention problems our nurses and patients have faced in recent years. We are also committed as MNA nurses to enforce our contract and make sure the improvements we have secured make a real difference for our patients and in our work life."

In a statement, Berkshire Medical Center Chief Nursing Officer Brenda Cadorette, MSN, RN, said nurses "are valued members of Berkshire Health Systems' team whose skill and compassion are integral to our work to serve everyone in Berkshire County with comprehensive care. We look forward to continued work with our nurses and colleagues across the system to achieve our mission of advancing health and wellness for everyone in our community in a welcoming, inclusive and personalized environment."

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