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Nurses ratify contract with Salem Regional Medical Center – Business Journal Daily

Vaseline 2 months ago

SALEM, OH – Nurses at Salem Regional Medical Center, represented by the Ohio Nurses Association and AFT, announced Sunday that they have ratified a new three-year contract, averting a strike that was set to begin Monday.

Nurses voted on the pact this weekend. The union did not provide the final vote.

“The solidarity of nurses and the overwhelming support we received from the community forced hospital administrators to meet our demands for patient and nurse safety at the bargaining table,” said Sara Harkleroad, president of the Salem Registered Nurses Association and an oncology nurse at the Salem Regional Medical Center. “While we have not included minimum staffing standards in this contract, we will continue to urge hospital administrators to make this a mandate so that the safety of patients, nurses and all hospital health care workers is a top priority and requirement.”

According to an ONA press release, the new contract “includes several key provisions that support safe, sustainable patient care.” They contain:

  • “A commitment from the hospital to work with local ONA nurses to address staffing levels and guidelines in all patient care units.
  • “Improvements to the pay scale to bring nurse pay closer to the market, to attract and retain skilled nurses and to resolve internal inequalities by paying all nurses based on their years of experience as registered nurses.
  • “The maintenance or improvement of key working conditions relating to leave and work-life balance, reflecting the union’s emphasis on promoting a healthy work-life balance among nurses.
  • “Uphold a final and binding arbitration victory won by the union in 2023, protecting nurses from involuntary transfers and other changes in working conditions, recognizing the critical role of nurses’ autonomy and stable working conditions in ensuring patient safety .”

The press release cited Ohio House Bill 285, the Nurse Workforce and Safe Patient Care Act, which includes legally enforceable minimum nurse-to-patient workforce standards, whistleblower protections and a loan-to-grant program to strengthen the nursing workforce.

“This contract offer is a major step in the right direction, but the fight to achieve minimum staffing standards across all Ohio hospitals is far from over,” said Rick Lucas, ONA president and executive director. “ONA will not back down until House Bill 285 is passed and all Ohio hospitals have legally enforceable safe staffing standards in place.”

With the ratification of the contract, the ten-day strike notice has been withdrawn and all nurses will report for their scheduled shifts.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.