Nurses and Technical Specialists at Wills Eye vote to ratify new three-year contract
The new contract was ratified almost unanimously and was designed to improve retention and patient care.
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On Feb. 20, nurses and technical specialists at Wills Eyes ratified a new three-year contract with 98% of the vote.
The Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals (PASNAP) union represents 96 healthcare workers at Wills Eye and 9,000 across Pennsylvania.
The contract contains several components that aim to improve retention — an issue facing the entire healthcare system due to the pandemic.
“On the heels of the worst pandemic of our lifetimes, the system that’s supposed to support healthcare professionals, and therefore patients, is in crisis. Hospital staff numbers have dwindled here and nationwide due to burnout and short-sighted, bottom-line decisions,” said Maureen May, R.N., President of PASNAP and Temple University nurse.
“This contract, with its emphasis on measures to improve retention, acknowledges the contributions of frontline caregivers and by prioritizing their well-being, also prioritizes patient care. We are thrilled,” she added.
The contract includes:
- Four weeks of paid parental leave: After working at Wills for a year, union members will be able to take four weeks of fully paid parental leave within a year of the birth or adoption.
- Workplace violence prevention: Union members won seats on the Hospital’s Safety Committee for the first time. This committee creates policy around caregiver safety. Having three seats on this committee means that healthcare workers can advocate for their own protection and safety.
Beth Connor, R.N., a Post-Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU) nurse, said of the seat wins, “Having representation on the Hospital Safety Committee is a key win. Our unity throughout this process ensured that frontline workers will be heard and be a part of the decision-making regarding safety in the hospital.”
- Pandemic language: Within 14 days of an emergency being declared, union members will meet with the hospital to review policies and procedures in regards to PPE, best clinical practices, testing, health and safety measures, and work conditions. This allows the healthcare workers to give input.
Other parts of the contract include a wage increase of up to 14.5%, an increase in retirement contribution, and better vesting language.
“This contract – our first post-pandemic contract – represents the collective effort of each and every member of our team. We are a specialty hospital that worked through the pandemic without the incentives other hospitals offered. This contract protects and rewards us. But more importantly, it allows us to better care for our patients. We are very proud of it,” said Melinda Hayes, a Surgical Technician.