St. Lawrence Health nurses ratify contract

Nurses and supporters during picketing at Massena Hospital in April.
Nurses and supporters during picketing at Massena Hospital in April.(New York State Nursing Association)
Published: May. 18, 2023 at 11:46 AM EDT
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MASSENA, New York (WWNY) - Nurses at the three hospitals owned by St. Lawrence Health have ratified their new contracts.

The New York State Nurses Association, the union representing the nurses, says its members at Massena, Canton-Potsdam, and Gouverneur hospitals voted overwhelmingly to accept the agreement.

Votes at Massena and Gouverneur, the union says, were unanimous.

A tentative agreement with the health system was reached May 10, the union says. Voting began on Monday at Gouverneur Hospital and ended Wednesday at Canton-Potsdam and Massena hospitals.

This was the first time the 276 union members at all three hospitals bargained together.

The 5-year contract includes wage increases of at least 6% in the first year and a consistent wage scale across the hospitals. The contracts, NYSNA says, also include improved and lower-cost health benefits.

St. Lawrence Health said the agreement also increases pay for both evening and weekend shift differentials, as well as on-call shifts.

Nurses will also have a voice in staffing standards for the first time through the creation of a safe staffing committee.

As of last month, staffing was a major sticking point for the union.