Cape Cod Healthcare, nurses agree on limited overtime, benefits

The Massachusetts Nurses Association this week agreed on a ratified three-year contract with Cape Cod Healthcare that will limit mandatory overtime and provide improved wages. The contract follows year-long negotiations between nurse representatives from Cape Cod and Falmouth Hospitals and Cape Code Healthcare management, while finalizing a tentative agreement reached in June.

"In these tough economic times, we were able to achieve important gains, specifically to the quality of our working conditions, which was our primary objective," said Nicky Powderly, chair of the Falmouth Hospital nurses' local bargaining unit, in a press release yesterday. "With this agreement, everyone is a winner, particularly our patients."

The contract includes provisions about overtime, wages, staffing, and psychiatric ward conditions. Cape Cod Healthcare agreed to limit mandatory overtime, in which nurses will not be assigned mandatory overtime more than three times in a year and no more than once a week, according to the press release.

In addition, nurses will receive a 2 percent bonus that will be retroactively issued back from Oct. 1, 2010, as well as a 1 percent raise in 2012 with a 2 percent step raise to the top of the pay scale, and a 1 percent raise in 2013 with a 1 percent step raise to the top of the pay scale.

The hospital also agreed it will increase staffing to support the medical and surgical units, the areas with greater patient care needs, as well as add security precautions to the Cape Cod Hospital psychiatric unit,  according to the release.

"We believe this process has resulted in improved communication and a shared commitment to providing the best patient care possible," Cape Cod Healthcare President and CEO Michael Lauf told WickedLocal last month. "We thank the [Massachusetts Nurses Association] negotiating team for collaborating with us to reach this agreement, and for the wonderful care they have always provided to our patients."

The contract will be effective Oct. 1, 2010 to Sept. 30, 2013.

For more:
- read the press release
- check out the Barnstable-Hyannis Patch article
- see the WickedLocal article