New contract nets nurses 21% raise

MIDDLEBURY — University of Vermont Health Network Porter Medical Center announced on Tuesday it had reached a tentative, three-year agreement with the union representing 130 Porter registered nurses. The deal will increase salaries by 21% over the course of the pact. 
The size of the increase, according to Porter management and nurses’ union, reflects a commitment to paying RNs a more competitive wage that will make PMC better able to retain and recruit personnel.
The contract assures nurses a 9% raise in year one, and a 6% raise in years two and three, amounting to a total of 21%.
“I think we got a lot of good winds,” RN Mary Wood, local leader of the Porter Federation of Nurses & Health Care Professionals, said during a phone interview. “We improved a great deal from the (previous) contract. I feel like it’s a very good contract for both us and the hospital.”
In addition to the nurses’ wage gain, the new contract:
•  Secured the ability of part-time nurses to sign up for health insurance benefits, beginning in the third year of the pact.
•  Places RNs working in Porter’s provider practices on the same wage scale as the hospital nurses.
•  Increases financial incentives for participating in clinical advancement programs to recognize Registered Nurses who attain and maintain a higher level of clinical practice and continue to develop themselves and the nursing professions.
•  Introduces a new organization-wide multi-disciplinary Health and Safety Committee inclusive of three union representatives, promotes collaboration on determining proper training for new technologies and updates the non-discrimination provisions including collaboration on creating “an equitable and just workplace.”
“We are in unusual times for sure,” said Tom Thompson, Porter’s president and chief operating officer. “But through it all, our focus must be to keep each other safe and supported, and that’s one of the many things that makes Porter such a special place.”
Contracts talks began in July and concluded on Sept. 23.

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