Business & Tech

Boston Medical Center, nurses’ union reach contract agreement

Boston, MA- March 03, 2017: Boston Medical Center in Boston, MA on March 04, 2017. (On Monday, Boston Medical Center will announce the receipt of a $25m donation, the largest in its history. The money, from billionaire investor John Grayken and his wife, Eilene, will be used for programs to fight drug addiction. We are looking for a good exterior photo of the hospital. The donation won't be officially announced until Monday but Globe has an exclusive for Monday's paper. ) (Globe staff photo / Craig F. Walker) section: Lifestyle reporter: arnett
Craig F. Walker/Globe staff,file
Boston Medical Center.

Boston Medical Center and the union representing nearly 1,700 nurses have reached a four-year contract agreement that includes wage increases, workplace safety initiatives, and payment for professional development.

District 1199 of the Service Employees International Union, which represents registered nurses and licensed practical nurses at the hospital, said Thursday that the contract would help recruit and retain nurses in a competitive market.

Bargaining began in March, and the two sides reached a tentative agreement in late June. According to the union, known as 1199SEIU, it includes these provisions:

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 Nurses will receive a 5 percent pay increase on the anniversary of their hire. Those on the top step will receive 7 percent before October 2022. A 1 percent bonus will be awarded in April 2021.

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 The hospital will hire an independent security consultant.

 The hospital will offer free classes in de-escalating potentially dangerous situations and other safety-related topics.

 Tuition reimbursement will double from $2,500 to $5,000 for nurses after six months of employment.

 An annual meeting between management and staff will be held to develop care team plans.

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“We’ve worked long and hard to ensure this contract would acknowledge our voices and expertise and provide high quality benefits for nurses at Boston Medical Center,” Kerry LaBarbera, an emergency room nurse, said in statement from the union. “We are dedicated caregivers, and we wanted a new contract that gives us the tools to strengthen the care we provide.”

Nancy Gaden, the hospital’s senior vice president and chief nursing officer, said in a statement that the agreement “reflects our shared commitment to the hospital’s mission, patient safety and quality care.”

“The 1199SEIU unit, comprised of 1,700 nurses, is critical to our ability to provide the exceptional care that our patients depend on each and every day,” Gaden said.

Felice J. Freyer can be reached at felice.freyer@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @felicejfreyer