The Fletcher Allen nurses reached a tentative agreement, moments before the rally this Saturday, June 21st (see their news release below)!
Congratulations to all of the Fletcher Allen nurses! You were incredibly strong, committed and united through this whole struggle – and with this strength you’ve accomplished great things!
The nurses will vote on the settlement in the coming days, but what they’ve won in this settlement is nothing short of historic. It is a huge victory for the nurses at Fletcher Allen, of course, but also for all Vermont nurses, as Fletcher Allen sets the standard for the state. It’s a big win for all Vermonters, who will benefit from the improved quality patient care that nurses will be able to provide. And it’s even bigger than that, for the triumph at Fletcher Allen is one for nurses throughout the country (they are the first hospital in the country to have a ban on mandatory overtime and one of ten who have won nurse-to-patient staffing ratios).
In Vermont, this is a gigantic victory for all Vermont workers, as it is the type of win that puts the “move” in the labor movement. Through the Justice For Healthcare Workers Campaign, we will continue to work with the Fletcher Allen nurses and other VT healthcare local unions to help healthcare workers throughout the state organize for their rights. We want to thank all of you who helped the Fletcher Allen nurses in this struggle for justice and quality patient care. I would love to mention names, but there are literally thousands of people who got involved in many ways.
I would like to share one message we received just before the settlement from someone involved in the Justice For Healthcare Workers Campaign:
“I’m unfortunately unable to attend the rally but I’ll be there in spirit. We have an outpost of Fletcher Allen in our hospital here in Rutland (Dialysis Center). The chief of surgery asked me today, a full-time O.R. nurse, if there were a picket line in Rutland would I cross it to come to work. The emphatic answer is ‘NO’ “
—- in solidarity, Tisa Farrow, RN (Rutland Regional Medical Center Chief Steward, OPEIU, local 6, AFL-CIO).
Thanks to Tisa and so many others whose solidarity and support really made a difference!
Vermont Workers’ Center, Director
NURSES CHEER SETTLEMENT OF A FAIR CONTRACT
Rally Celebrates the Beginning of a New Day at Fletcher Allen
On Saturday, an estimated 600 community members, local leaders, and nurses gathered together outside of the hospital to celebrate the long-desired settlement of a fair contract with the Fletcher Allen nurses’ union.
“We are ecstatic at what we were able to achieve in these negotiations,” said Jen Henry, RN, a member of the Bargaining Team. “Today, we can say that it is truly a new day at Fletcher Allen.”
Settlement came in the early afternoon on Saturday, just a few hours before the rally, and after three days of informational picketing by the nurses drew an overwhelmingly positive community response. The nurses had been engaged in contract talks with the administration since December. The contract agreement was approved by the Bargaining Team at approximately one in the afternoon on Saturday after a round-the-clock bargaining session, and is expected to be approved by the full union membership in a final vote that will take place on a date in the near future that is yet to be determined.
“This contract will bring Fletcher Allen a long way towards becoming a world-class hospital,” said Barbara Segal, RN, co-chair of the Bargaining Team. “We are incredibly happy for our patients, who can expect great things because of this.”
Key changes to past Fletcher Allen policy in the contract include:
- Safe nurse-to-patient ratios, which will greatly improve the time that nurses have to spend with each patient;
- A ban on mandatory overtime, which will ensure that nurses are not forced to work grueling back-to-back shifts;
- often regardless of whether or not they had the correct certifications to perform all the necessary duties on that second unit; and
- An economic package that will improve the hospital’s ability to recruit and retain qualified nurses in a time when a shortage of qualified nurses has created a highly competitive job market across the country.
“This day has been a long time in coming,” said Steve Chamberlin, RN, co-chair of the Bargaining Team. “Finally, we nurses at Fletcher Allen will have the tools that we need to provide the quality and safety in care that our patients deserve. We congratulate the administration in coming to an agreement with us that is good for the patients, the nurses, and the community.”
MORE INFO: Contact VT Workers: Center 802-229-0009 or the Fletcher Allen Nurses’ Union, UPV/AFT Local 5221 at 802-657-4040. To learn more about the Justice For Healthcare Workers Campaign, email email@example.com