Tufts nurses ratify new contract after nearly 2 years of bargaining

A contract between Boston-based Tufts Medical Center and the Massachusetts Nurses Association is now official.

Tufts nurses voted to ratify the three-year, nine-month contract Wednesday, both sides confirmed. The contract, which covers 1,200 unionized nurses at Tufts and its Floating Hospital for Children, was tentatively agreed to Dec. 18 after a negotiating session at Boston Mayor Marty Walsh's office. It is effective through Sept. 30, 2021.

Provisions of the contract include across-the-board pay increases totaling 6 percent over the life of the contract and moves nurses who are now in the defined benefit pension plan to a 403(b) retirement savings plan, according to the MNA. Other provisions cited by the union include "language guaranteeing that key units/floors will have a charge nurse without an initial patient assignment" as well as a 5 percent step added to the wage scale over the life of the contract.

The new contract contract comes nearly two years after Tufts and the MNA began contract negotiations in April 2016. Negotiations were contentious at times, resulting in a one-day strike in July.

Both sides are pleased a new agreement is now official.

"You won't find more skilled and compassionate nurses anywhere than those at Tufts Medical Center," said Terry Hudson-Jinks, RN, CNO at Tufts and head of the medical center bargaining committee during contract negotiations, in an emailed statement. "We are very glad to be starting off the New Year fresh with an agreement that will help us work as one team - focusing our efforts on the delivery of excellence in patient care while retaining and recruiting the very best nursing professionals in the region."

Mary Havlicek Cornacchia, an OR nurse and bargaining unit co-chair, called the turnout for the vote "rewarding — both personally and professionally."

"It means the hard work that the  committee and the general membership put in to this process made a difference, and will continue to make a difference, each day, for our patients. There is still work to do, but we made important gains in this contract and we will move forward together," she said in an emailed statement.


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