1500 nurses at Penn State Hershey Medical Center ratified a new 3-year union contract on Thursday night. The agreement makes significant improvements in pay, educational benefits and scheduling policies so that HMC nurses can stay at the forefront of their profession and the hospital remains a leader in quality patient care.
“The hard work of our dedicated nurses has helped to make Hershey Medical Center a regional leader in medicine,” said Maureen Casey, a registered nurse in the Neuroscience Critical Care Unit. “This contract will make sure that we can continue to provide the highest quality of patient care by recruiting and retaining the best nurses.”
For the first time, the majority of registered nurses at the hospital will have a defined wage scale that will ensure they get annual raises that fairly recognize their seniority and experience. By the end of the contract, wages will range from $27.12/hour for a nurse just starting in the profession, to $38.74/hour for a nurse with 24 years experience. Nurses not subject to the scale will receive raises between 2.25% and 2.75% each year.
“This wage scale will make sure that the next generation of nurses want to come work for our hospital and will see their pay rise with the experience they gain each year,” said Robyn Mellin, a nurse with 26 years of service in the hospital’s Maternal and Child Float Pool.
Other highlights of the contract include:
- A joint labor-management committee to review and adjust staffing levels in each hospital unit.
- Increased tuition reimbursement and professional development funds so that nurses stay current with the latest advances in the profession.
- Improved scheduling and time-off policies so that nurses are better able to balance their work and family lives.
“Every Hershey nurse works hard every day to give our patients the best care possible. We are glad that we reached a settlement that gives us the tools we need to serve our patients even better,” said Casey.