Kittanning, PA | June 9, 2016 — On Wednesday, nurses and technical professionals ratified contracts with Armstrong County Memorial Hospital. PASNAP, the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses & Allied Professionals, represents 420 employees in two bargaining units at ACMH: Registered Nurses and a new unit of Technical Professionals and LPNs.
Wednesday’s ratification was particularly meaningful for members of the Technical and LPN unit, as it represents the culmination of their efforts to organize a union and win a first contract.
“We formed our union to have a voice at work, to win respect and recognition and to make improvements for our patients,” said Sherri Hagofsky, an Ultrasound Technologist and Secretary for the Tech and LPN union. “With this contract, we have achieved these goals and more.”
Staffing was a central issue during negotiations, and the new Tech and LPN contract includes a process for resolving staffing concerns as they arise, as well as a process for reviewing and resolving staffing concerns where patterns may exist.
The Techs and LPNs organized their union in 2014 and worked without a contract as they continued negotiating for a strong first agreement. The union worked through the National Labor Relations Board to require the employer to provide 3% in wage increases during that time, and the new contract will provide an additional 2% increase in January of 2017. LPNs and technical professionals will receive a ratification bonus, an increase in the employer contribution to the retirement plan, and bonuses ranging from $300 to $2,000 to mark anniversaries beginning at 10 years of service and continuing every five years thereafter.
“I come from a union household,” said Cris Scott, a Medical Laboratory Technician who serves as President of the Tech and LPN local. “I’ve seen a lot of of first contracts, and this is one of the best I’ve ever seen.”
RNs and CRNAs ratified a one-year contract extension as their Tech and LPN colleagues ratified their first contract. The agreements will now expire within 4 months of each other, which will allow the hospital’s nurses and healthcare professionals to collaborate in bargaining.
The RN and CRNA contract includes a 2.25% wage increase, a $2,000 annual education benefit to allow CRNAs to pay for increasing Continuing Education requirements, and job bidding improvements to ensure that RNs can advance their careers through a fair and transparent process. Healthcare costs will remain on the low side of the market, though both contracts include a modest deductible increase to bring costs more in line with other area hospitals.
“I’m very impressed by the commitment the Techs and LPNs have shown in negotiating their first contract,” said Carrie Adams, RN, President of the RN and CRNA union. “I’m thrilled that in a year-and-a-half both of our unions will be at the bargaining table together for the first time to make improvements for ourselves, our patients, our families and the community.”