Meriter nurses reach tentative agreement on contract

Bizar Male
Meriter Hospital

MADISON, Wis. — The healthcare workers union representing nurses at UnityPoint Health – Meriter announced Saturday night that the nurses have reached a “major tentative agreement” on a new contract.

According to a tweet posted by SEIU Healthcare WI, the new agreement ensures time off that is needed for recovering from the pandemic; that their “sacrifices are valued”; and that they have a greater say in future discussions.

Local politicians responded to the announcement on Twitter, as well.

In a statement provided to News 3 Now on Saturday night, a Meriter spokesperson said the hospital is “extremely pleased to have reached a tentative agreement” with the union.

“While we’re still awaiting final votes from the nurses, we’re optimistic that we will finalize the new contract soon,” the statement said.

Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway said she spoke to Meriter’s CEO on Friday and wrote “#MadisonValuesNurses”, while U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan called the agreement a “Win-win!” and said “This is why unions matter.”

On Friday, the nurses filed charges with the National Labor Relations Board, an independent federal agency, accusing the hospital of waging a public misinformation and intimidation campaign rather than negotiating with them ahead of a pending ten-day strike.

In a press release, the union representing the nurses said the hospital had violated workers’ rights and broken federal labor law.

The fourth contract proposal, which was issued by the hospital on Friday, boosted its 2022 pay increase from 3.7% in the last proposal to 3.8%, while keeping the 2021 3.7% pay increase the same. It also included another ten hours added to vacation and sick time, bringing the total offer to 50 extra hours. UnityPoint Health Meriter included previous proposals of incentive pay for picking up extra shifts and added influence in policy making.

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