Saint Vincent Hospital Offers Increased StaffingMar 1, 2021
Saint Vincent Hospital has offered significantly enhanced staffing guidelines and extended contract terms to the Massachusetts Nurses Association (MNA) as part of its effort to reach agreement on a new contract.
“This offer represents a good faith effort to resolve the issues and reach an agreement,” said Carolyn Jackson, Saint Vincent CEO. “It is an improvement of our existing, contracted staffing levels, which are already considered among the best of all Massachusetts hospitals, and keeps the competitive wage increases and bonus we had offered previously. In sum, it’s an outstanding offer intended to attract and retain a qualified nursing staff to serve our community.”
New staffing guidelines in the offer, which was presented during tonight’s bargaining session, include:
- Addition of COVID staffing guidelines during the declared COVID State of Emergency, so that no nurse on a Medical/Surgical floor will be assigned more than four COVID patients and no nurse in the Progressive Care Unit will be assigned more than two COVID patients.
- In recognition of increased patient acuity, two nursing units currently classified as Cardiac Telemetry will move to a 1:4 nurse to patient staffing guideline, similar to one other noncritical care unit at SVH.
The Hospital maintained its offer to add a dedicated Critical Care float position within the existing float pool 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to address additional patient loads as needed.
Jackson continued, “The staffing guideline additions reflect our commitment to reach an agreement and willingness to address staffing concerns specific to our operations. We have continued to indicate to the MNA that we will not consider across-the-board staffing ratios like those rejected by voters in the statewide ballot question in 2018. That issue should be addressed through appropriate state legislative channels.”
The offer also retains retroactive wage increases and a one-time bonus that the Hospital initially planned to eliminate if the MNA did not respond to its previous offer by the February 18 deadline. The hospital did not exercise its right to withdraw these two terms:
- 1% across the board wage increase, retroactive to July 1, 2020.
- An additional 2% lump sum payment based on hours worked in 2020 during the pandemic.
The Hospital added to the generosity of its wage package by extending the contract expiration date to December 31, 2024, enabling our valued nurses to lock in their annual increases for two more years. That means our nurses will also receive:
- A 2% across the board wage increase, effective in the first full pay period after June 30, 2023 and again after June 30, 2024
- A 3% increase in all per diem nurse rates, effective in the first full pay period after January 1, 2023 and again after January 1, 2024.
In addition, the offer maintained all other compensation increases in the previous proposal, enhanced ER security measures and benefits improvements that would provide savings of up to $4,600 in out of pocket health insurance premium costs for some part time nurses.
Jackson added, “This extended offer will provide potential wage increases up to 36% for some nurses. We are hopeful for a positive response and request that the MNA leadership withdraws the strike notice. It is in the best interest of our nurses and community to prioritize reaching an agreement rather than focusing on strike preparations.”