Nurses at EMMC Ratify Contract
In one of closest votes in its history, Nurses represented by the Maine State Nurses Association/National Nurses United ratified a one-year agreement with EMMC late Tuesday evening.
Nurses at EMMC have been in bargaining since August 2010, and had to strike EMMC in November to demonstrate their commitment to safe patient care. The three major points of contention were staffing, job security and health benefits.
“I am accepting this contract because we made progress in assuring that patient safety would be addressed,” said Mandy Dickey, RN
“The nurses at EMMC have spoken. This has been a long road, but we feel that we had to speak up for our patients and ensure that we are able to provide the community with the best care possible,” said Judy Brown, RN.
“Without the support of the community, I don’t believe we would have gotten this far. We will continue to pursue these staffing improvements again next year.”
“Community members and organized labor stood side by side with us at our candlelight vigil. They wrote letters to the members of the Board at EMMC, and even put up lawn signs demonstrating their support for us,” stated Coralee Giles, RN, President of MSNA, who is an endoscopy nurse at EMMC. “They understand that we were fighting for the right to give them the care that they deserve.”
Nurses at EMMC struck the hospital for one day in November of 2010 and then endured a three-day lockout. They issued a second strike notice and, had they not reached agreement with EMMC, would have gone on strike for one day this Thursday, despite the hospital’s threat to lock them out for four additional days.
Instead, after marathon mediated negotiations last week, a breakthrough was made on the outstanding issues, and a tentative agreement was reached.