Registered nurses at St. Luke's Hospital have ratified their first union contract. Their union was represented by the Mass. Nurses Association.

Karen Corbett, co-chair of the bargaining committee, said the contract will immediately benefit nurses, patients and their communities, and make positive impacts for years to come.

The agreement with Southcoast Health follows almost three years of negotiations that were interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and covers nearly 700 nurses at St. Luke's.

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In a press release, the association said the contract provides a number of provisions to support and protect nurses now and in the future.

The contract insures adequate staffing levels, improved health insurance benefits, and gives nurses more control over their schedule. The package also includes what the union calls a fair wage scale. The average increase for nurses in 2022 will be 7.9 percent.

St. Luke’s nurses voted in an NLRB election in November 2018 to join the MNA and began negotiating their contract in May 2019. Nurses reached a tentative agreement with Southcoast Health on February 17, then voted to ratify the agreement on February 25. The contract will expire on December 31st, 2024.

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