ProMedica hospital workers avert strike

Members of the Branch County Independent Nurses Association have approved a new contract with ProMedica Coldwater (Mich.) Regional Hospital, according to a Feb. 2 hospital statement shared with Becker's

The three-year agreement covers more than 100 nurses at the hospital, which is part of the Toledo, Ohio-based ProMedica system.

ProMedica said the new agreement "restructures the distribution of the elements agreed to in the previous tentative agreements," while fairly rewarding nurses amid the financial challenges hospitals are facing.

The new agreement also addresses nursing recruitment and retention. 

"When recruiting, PCRH regularly starts nurses at salaries commensurate with their years of experience," ProMedica said. "Also, while the hospital's nurse turnover rate is well below the national average, we will continue to strive for even greater nurse retention."

Both sides reached the agreement after months of negotiating. On Jan. 18, union members voted to authorize their bargaining committee to call a strike. However, a potential strike was averted after a tentative deal reached Jan. 29 was approved Feb. 1.

Nurses rejected a previous offer that included a 7.7 percent average increase for the first contract year, according to The Daily Reporter.

Union president and nurse Mary Osborne said the tentative deal approved by nurses "provided a more competitive wage scale for our nurses over earlier rejected proposals in order to attract and retain nurses," according to the newspaper.

"We are pleased we have reached our shared goal of agreeing on new contract terms that reflect the priorities of both parties — like patient safety," Alan Sattler, president of ProMedica Coldwater Regional Hospital, said in a statement. "We value the work our nurses and other care team members do each and every day, and we are committed to supporting them as we all work together to provide the community with high-quality, safe, compassionate care."

Ms. Osborne said the union is "pleased with the direction ProMedica wants to take our hospital," and looks forward "to continuing our high standard of patient care for our community and working together with ProMedica to create new opportunities for our hospital and for our community," according to The Daily Reporter.

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