Reporting Anthony Silva
BOSTON (CBS) — More than 1,000 nurses at Tufts Medical Center in Boston have ratified their new contract averting a strike.
The 18-month agreement came just hours before nurses were set to walk off their job, and after Tufts had hired hundreds of replacement nurses as they braced for a possible strike.
The new contract eases patient loads, limits mandatory overtime and gives nurses a two percent pay increase. The hospital will also add “charge nurses” to supplement staffing levels.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030′s Anthony Silva reports.
The chairperson of the bargaining unit, Barbara Tiller, R.N., says these talks came close to ending in the street as talks boiled down to discussions over staffing levels. Tiller says certain patient loads have been reduced.
But Tufts Medical Center President and CEO Ellen Zane tells WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Anthony Silva formulaic staffing levels were never part of this contract. Zane says the hospital was not willing to talk about those formulas which have been espoused by the union nationally.
Zane says the contract was settled just four hours before the strike was set to begin. She confirms that the hospital had hired several hundred nurses from around the country, trained them and had them ready for their first shifts when a settlement was announced.