Nurses at Avera Marshall Medical Center announced on June 13 that they won a new contract, following eight months of sustained negotiations by nurses after their previous contract expired on September 30, 2021.
The new contract was won under a strong organizing effort by Marshall nurses, including an informational picket in April where we and the Marshall community came together to demand that hospital executives put patients before profits, to put community care before corporate policies and cost-cutting that are driving nurses away from the bedside and that negatively impact patient care.
“We have made a lot of positive changes that we are excited about and hope will help retain our nurses and attract others to come work at Avera Marshall. We have a great team of nurses at Avera Marshall, and they deserve this,” said Mary McConnell, a Registered Nurse in the Avera Marshall Emergency Department and a member of the negotiating team.
In negotiations, we were focused on solving the crisis of understaffing and retention caused by poor management at the Avera Marshall Medical Center. These issues have caused nurses to leave the bedside in high numbers in recent years. We want to be at the bedside, providing the safe and high-quality care their neighbors need, and hope this new contract language will allow more nurses in Marshall to do so with safety and respect.
“We are turning the page in our relationship with Avera and look forward to ongoing collaboration,” said Katie Fragodt, a Registered Nurse in the Avera Marshall Surgery Department and another member of the negotiating team.
Highlights of the new contract include provisions to address retention issues at Avera, including the elimination of mandatory overtime; 20% total wage increases by the third year of the contract; and a new Resource Nurse position as a first step to address under-staffing by management of hospital unit shifts. We believe these changes will help to recruit and retain nurses in Marshall, so the hospital can once again be the fully-staffed, high-quality community facility that nurses and patients need it to be.
We hope the new contract will be the beginning of better communication and commitment from Avera executives to solve the crises in our hospitals and to put patient care before profits. Avera nurses are committed to continuing to organize with patients to protect high-quality care from corporate healthcare policies in the Marshall community and the region.