Geisinger caregivers in Northeastern Pennsylvania overwhelmingly approved a new three-year contract on January 30th that expands nurses’ voices on staffing and patient care decisions, increases opportunities for educational advancement and adds new protections against mandatory overtime.
The agreement, which covers nearly 500 employees at Geisinger Wyoming Valley and South Wilkes Barre, establishes provisions requiring that staffing levels be based on patient acuity and other relevant factors, and re-establishes work area councils for managers and union members to work together to develop staffing plans, including nurse-patient ratios, on every patient care unit.
“This contract means that Geisinger caregivers in Northeastern PA will have a stronger voice for quality health care for our community. Strengthening our voice on staffing issues was the focus of our whole campaign, and we succeeded,” said Frank Kratz of Wilkes-Barre, a Registered Nurse at Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center.
The contract also includes a 3% raise in the first year, along with an additional 2.5 percent pay increase in each of the following two years. The contract makes Geisinger nurses the highest-paid RNs in the region.
“Having guaranteed raises means we can recruit and retain quality employees, which means better patient care. Also, it provides our community with the kind of jobs we need in this difficult economy,” Kratz said.