Grand Itasca negotiations 'respectful'

Negotiations between nurses and Grand Itasca Clinic and Hospital in Grand Rapids were marked by ‘mutual respect’ this spring, leading to a new contract that benefits nurses and patients.

“We had very respectful bargaining,” said Grand Itasca Bargaining Unit Chair Pam Nordstrom. “Negotiations moved more smoothly and we won some major improvements for members.”

“We always tried to keep patients at the forefront during negotiations,” said bargaining committee member Carol Forneris. “We wanted to ensure quality staff, because that goes hand in hand with good patient care. ”

Members ratified the new contract on June 16. It includes:

  • 6.5 percent raises for hospital RNs over three years;
  • 8 percent raises for clinic RNs over three years;
  • Staffing language that supports acuity and nursing intensity. MNA and Grand Itasca will develop staffing plans that take patient care needs/acuity, unit census, and skill level of professional nursing staff into account. Grand Itasca will consider input from the charge nurses or primary care nurses when making staffing decisions.
  • Language that preserves the union if the hospital’s ownership changes.