COMMERCIAL-NEWS | ROBERT TOMLINSON - Pictured is Three Rivers Health Friday. On Monday, the Michigan Nurses Association announced that registered nurses at the hospital officially ratified a new three-year contract between them and Beacon Health System.

TR Health nurses ratify new contract

THREE RIVERS — After a few months of negotiations, Three Rivers Health nurses now have a new labor contract.

On Monday, the Michigan Nurses Association (MNA) announced that registered nurses at the hospital have officially ratified a new three-year contract with the hospital and Beacon Health System.

According to a press release from the MNA, the new contract includes some of the items nurses had been asking for in a new deal. This includes wage increases of an average 12 percent the first year and three percent each of the next two years, higher shift differentials for afternoons and nights, improved paid time off policies, and a phase-out of the practice of calling in nurses from home to work mandatory overtime.

“We’re pleased to have achieved a strong contract that will make our hospital a better, safer place and support us in providing the best care possible,” Brandy Shoup, an emergency department nurse and president of the local MNA union, said in the release. “Through our solidarity and community support, we made it clear that Beacon Health must invest in Three Rivers. Now we can attract more nurses to work at the hospital and ensure more nurses continue working in our community.”

The new contract was officially ratified in a union vote Friday, and took effect on Saturday.

Nurses at Three Rivers Health had been working under an old contract that expired on March 31. Approximately 80 nurses and community members staged a 90-minute informational picket back in May outside the hospital to bring light to their struggle for a new contract and the conditions they worked in, which included claims that Beacon had at times cancelled paid time off and threatened layoffs. Negotiations had been going on since February, according to Shoup.

The Commercial-News reached out to Beacon Health for comment on the new contract, and did not receive a response before press time.

“Nurses always put our patients first but we need time to be able to take care of our families, too,” said Shoup. “This contract invests in nurses and provides the resources and protections we need.”

Robert Tomlinson can be reached at 279-7488 ext. 22 or robert@threeriversnews.com.

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