Geisinger nurses approve labor deal with raises, mental health days

Registered nurses at Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center and Geisinger South Wilkes-Barre have approved a three-year contract with Danville, Pa.-based Geisinger Health.

The contract, approved Feb. 2, covers more than 700 SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania members at both Wilkes-Barre, Pa.-based facilities, according to a union news release. It includes mental health days for nurses as well as wage increases. 

"For 10 years I have watched front-line caregivers slowly become more depressed and more stressed as staffing issues grew," said Ryan Mallis, a registered nurse in the intensive care unit at Geisinger Wyoming Valley. "Then COVID struck, and we hit an all-time low. It has been hard being a nurse in this environment. This contract signals a change in how nurses are valued and listened to in the workplace."

Under the contract, RNs will see a $6.09 increase to the hourly starting rate for nurses, as well as increases of $5 or more on the rest of the wage scale steps, a union spokesperson said. Full-time RNs will also get two mental health days annually, and part-time RNs will get one.

Steven Rhone, RN, vice president and CNO at Geisinger Wyoming Valley, praised the deal. 

This agreement "recognizes the incredible efforts our Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center and Geisinger South Wilkes-Barre nursing teams put forth for our communities, not just throughout the pandemic, but every single day," Mr. Rhone said in a statement shared with Becker's

The agreement "includes substantial wage increases that, in addition to a $90 million systemwide investment in retention bonuses and shift differentials announced last November, make Geisinger nurses some of the most highly compensated in the area," Mr. Rhone said. "Our overall compensation and benefits packages, in tandem with this new contract and flexible time-off policies, will allow us to continue recruiting and retaining the talented nurses who provide world-class care close to home for our communities in northeastern Pennsylvania."

The new contract expires Jan. 31, 2025.

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