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Merrimack Valley

June 26, 2014

Lawrence General Hospital nurses reach tentative agreement for new contract

LAWRENCE — Lawrence General Hospital nurses have reached an agreement for a new contract. The tentative agreement includes more staffing for emergency and surgical departments.

The changes will add five more full-time nurses to the hospital’s emergency staff as well as another five full-time nurses to the night shift of medical surgical units.

The agreement includes a 1 percent pay raise across the board in each year for the nurses, as well as improvements to their health insurance benefits.

In a statement, the Massachusetts Nurses Association/National Nurses United — who represented nurses at LGH — said it’s hopeful that the new changes will mean fewer patients per nurse. According to the association, medical research shows this results in shorter hospital stays and higher patient satisfaction.

LGH believes the new agreement will help the hospital retain the highest quality staff.

“We want to attract and retain the best professionals out there, to continue giving the quality care that we give. It’s important that we offer the most competitive comprehensive health and benefits package,” said VP Patient Care Services/Chief Nursing Officer Elizabeth Hale. “This deal absolutely helps us achieve that.”

The 400 nurses at Lawrence General recently engaged a federal mediator in an attempt to break a logjam in negotiations for a new union contract. The union and the hospital began negotiations in late October 2013 and held 15 sessions. The old contract expired on Oct. 7, 2013, but was extended until June 24, 2014. The new contract will expire in October 2015.

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