Hospital reaches new agreement with nurses federation

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BRATTLEBORO — The Brattleboro Federation of Nurses, AFT Local 5064, has reached a new three-year agreement with Brattleboro Memorial Hospital that includes improvements in healthcare and 18-20 percent wage increases over three years.

"Our focus at the bargaining table was to lower the nurse turnover at BMH. To do this, we needed to improve the support we provide to new nurses and raise the standards of pay and benefits that are important to attracting nurses to our hospital and community," says Jennifer Stevens, RN.

BMH experiences a higher than the national average of turnover for bedside nurses, with nearly one-fifth of the nurse workforce leaving each year. In response to a lack of recruitment, BMH has relied on nurse travelers and overtime to staff the hospital adequately at a substantial cost to both the hospital's budget and nurse morale. Nurses called upon the administration to increase recruitment and retention by achieving wage parity with neighboring hospitals in Massachusetts.

"Nurses were united in our efforts at the bargaining table," said Stacy Chickering, RN, and president of BFN, in a press release. "This contract is a significant step forward in nurses feeling valued for our work and in recruiting new nurses to our BMH community. We secured increases in our wages, our differentials and made significant improvements to our health insurance. We feel strongly that with these gains, BMH will have a recruiting and retention advantage, which will impact the quality of care that we provide to our community. We are fortunate to have bargained alongside a management team who was both thoughtful and measured."

"We saw an outpouring of support from our community, for which we are tremendously grateful. It turns out that people do care," said Pernille Stage, RN.

The new contract was ratified by the nurses and is set to go into effect on Oct. 1.



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