SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska

Nurses ratify agreement with PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center


February 04, 2015
Wednesday AM

(SitNews) Ketchikan, Alaska - The Alaska Nurses Association’s Ketchikan Registered Nurses bargaining unit unanimously voted to ratify a labor contract agreement reached with PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center yesterday, following several rounds of negotiations that ended with two days of bargaining overseen by a mediator.

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The contract negotiations, which lasted over four months, were accompanied by informational picketing as the Ketchikan nurses rallied for the community’s support of their needs for increased clinical support and higher wages to help train and retain new nurses hired at the hospital.

The new three-year contract aims to improve nurse retention, decreases the need for nurse recruitment and promotes nurse and patient safety, thanks to several major issues agreed upon by the bargaining unit negotiating team and the medical center. Major milestones include higher wages for nurses, comparable to wages paid to nurses in PeaceHealth’s facilities in the Lower 48. Currently, the nurses receive lower salaries despite the higher cost of living in the small Southeast Alaska community. The contract also provides for improved orientation and training as well as the development of a new mentorship program and additional hours of clinical support during the night shift.

“As a bargaining unit, we entered negotiations with the goal of raising the bar at PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center, and to ensure the future of quality health care for our community,” said Shawna Strouth-Shaw, Ketchikan Registered Nurses bargaining team member. “We are pleased with the contract and look forward to working as a collaborative team to fulfill our continued commitment to excellence in patient care.”

Ketchikan Registered Nurses (KTN) is a local bargaining unit of the Alaska Nurses Association (AaNA).

“We congratulate the Ketchikan Registered Nurses bargaining unit on reaching an agreement that will support them in providing quality care to their patients, who in a small town like Ketchikan, are also their families, friends and neighbors,” said Donna Phillips, AaNA Labor Council chair. “Being able to not just attract new nurses but also retain them and provide them with proper mentorship and training will translate to increased safety and satisfaction for our nurses as well as better patient care for the Ketchikan Community.”

The Ketchikan Medical Center building is owned by the city of Ketchikan but is operated by PeaceHealth, a health care system that runs 10 hospitals in the Pacific Northwest.

The Alaska Nurses Association is a voice for and represents 11,955 nurses across the state of Alaska.

Edited by Mary Kauffman, SitNews


Source of News: 

Thompson & Co. Public Relations

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