Labor contracts traditionally address the meat-and-potatoes issues of wages and benefits. One recent contract for workers in a healthcare facility also addresses two worker safety issues that have become much higher priorities in recent years — personal protective equipment (PPE) and workplace violence.
Registered nurses at Mission Hospital in Asheville, N.C., recently voted to ratify their first ever union contract. National Nurses Organizing Committee/National Nurses United says the new three-year contract will provide Mission nurses' wage increases of up to 7 percent in the first year and up to 17% percent total, according to WMYA.
The union says safe staffing and health and safety protocols were a top priority for the nurses:
- PPE and testing, including the requirement that the hospital will provide proper PPE for nurses that meets the strictest federal, state, and local guidelines, and guaranteed HIV and Covid-19 testing for nurses at no cost following an exposure
- workplace violence prevention, including a hospital behavioral response team with added security for workplace violence prevention, with additional violence prevention training for nurses.