UMass Memorial Health nurses to see wage increases of up to 19.5%

Nurses working in hospitals owned and operated by Worcester, Mass.-based UMass Memorial Health have approved new contracts that include significant wage increases, according to hospital and union statements shared with Becker's.

The contracts cover about 2,770 members of the Massachusetts Nurses Association. Since June 29, union members have approved contracts at UMass University, UMass Memorial, Marlborough and Clinton hospitals. Nurses most recently approved a contract at UMass University on Sept. 29.

Under the agreements, wage increases vary between 8 percent and 19.5 percent, depending on the facility and the contract length, according to an Oct. 20 union news release shared with Becker's.

"Our UMass nurses and healthcare professionals have been the backbone of the Worcester-area hospitals since the pandemic started in early 2019. But these same professionals have also been overburdened and have often burned out," Katie Murphy, RN, MNA president, said in the release. "Too many patients, too few resources and insufficient compensation have forced them to leave the bedside. But with overdue improvements like those seen in these UMass contracts, we expect that nurses will return to and stay at the bedside — which is exactly what our local communities need."

The union said the contracts, depending on the facility, also include provisions regarding the workplace, such as the Marlborough agreement that includes "language that enhances the grievance process and the hospital's workplace violence prevention protocols." Additionally, the contract at UMass University hospital also addresses vacations, paid personal leave and weekend scheduling for those working in the float pool.

In a statement shared with Becker's, UMass Memorial Health said, "Every day, we are moved by the compassion, resilience and professionalism of our nursing staff, who continue to deliver exceptional care to all our patients and their loved ones. We are delighted to have these newly ratified contracts in place, which will strengthen critical recruitment and retention efforts for our system and support our talented clinical teams to improve patient outcomes. Given the pervasive economic challenges of the healthcare industry, we are grateful to our nurses for engaging in amicable negotiations throughout this process."

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