War Memorial RNs Ratify Contract Increasing Wages, Expanding RN Voice in Hospital

The new contract comes after whirlwind negotiation sessions between the Michigan Nurses Association and War Memorial Hospital

SAULT STE. MARIE, MI – MNA nurses at War Memorial Hospital overwhelmingly voted to ratify a contract for a three-year deal Wednesday night that includes raises and an expanded voice for nursing in making decisions about safe staffing levels.

Both nurses and hospital administrators describe the negotiations process as a collaborative one grounded in mutual respect.

“We are so proud of the contract we ratified as a union and believe it will benefit nurses, patients, and our whole community,” said Elena Lehocky, RN, president of the nurses’ union at War Memorial Hospital. We hope that this will foster an environment of mutual respect and cooperation that will make our hospital one of the best places for RNs to work for years to come.”

In the first year of the contract, every step of the wage scale will increase by an average of about 6%, giving every nurse a substantial raise in addition to added contractual provisions to prevent against fatigue. Nurses were also able to win an expanded voice in determining staffing levels at the hospital.

“As the Chief Nursing Officer, it was my pleasure to be able to work collaboratively with the staff RNs,” said Marla Bunker, CNO at War Memorial Hospital. “Registered Nurses are one of the most important professional caregivers on the front lines caring for our patients – we appreciate and value their commitment to high quality and safe care.”

Senior Director of Human Resources at War Memorial Hospital, Susan Sliger, said: “It was a true cooperative approach from agreeing on articles to review to discussion of article amendments. WMH management is proud to have our professional Registered Nurses working side-by-side with us to provide safe and quality patient care.”

The negotiations process at War Memorial took place in just a few weeks, a stark contrast to other negotiations at for-profit health systems which have taken many months.

“As nurses, all we want is to be able to look after our patients safely and to be treated with respect,” said Jamie Brown, RN, president of the Michigan Nurses Association. “We hope that other hospitals will follow the example set by War Memorial administrators in choosing to work collaboratively with us. If not, we are not afraid to hold them accountable.”


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