Tacoma General Hospital nurses have ratified a contract deal that was reached on the cusp of a December strike vote.
The Washington State Nurses Association said in a statement that a Wednesday vote had approved the agreement, which was reached after 19 bargaining sessions with MultiCare Health System that began in 2015. A union spokeswoman declined to provide the vote count but described it as “overwhelming.”
The contract deal averted a strike over working conditions for more than 700 nurses at Tacoma General.
Under the deal, the hospital’s nurses got raises with retroactive pay and fixed staffing ratios that include extra pay for registered nurses forced to work under higher patient loads, according to a summary on the nurses’ union’s website. The WNSA said the contract’s nurse-to-patient ratio requirements are the first in Washington state history.
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The WSNA will also continue its federal lawsuit over Tacoma General’s policy of requiring nurses to have a specific “break buddy” for their two 15-minute rest breaks per shift.