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Registered nurses ratify labor pact at HCA-affiliated Research Medical Center

Registered nurses rallied on Aug. 20 at Research Medical Center in Kansas City, calling for a new labor agreement with the hospital. On Monday, those nurses, represented by National Nurses United, ratified a new agreement with HCA Midwest that provides pay raises and changes in working conditions.
Registered nurses rallied on Aug. 20 at Research Medical Center in Kansas City, calling for a new labor agreement with the hospital. On Monday, those nurses, represented by National Nurses United, ratified a new agreement with HCA Midwest that provides pay raises and changes in working conditions. The Kansas City Star

Registered nurses at HCA-affiliated Research Medical Center in Kansas City have ratified a new labor agreement that includes pay raises and changes in working conditions.

Voting was scheduled to run through 12:30 a.m. Tuesday at Menorah Medical Center in Overland Park, which is among 17 hospitals covered by the tentative agreement negotiated by the National Nurses Organizing Committee of National Nurses United.

Other HCA-affiliated hospitals in the Kansas City area are not represented by the union.

Registered nurses covered by the pact will receive pay raises of up to 15 percent based on location. The raises will be spread over the three-year agreement.

The largest pay increases target nurses with the least experience and other raises focus on those with the most experience, said Cheryl Rodarmel, a registered nurse at Research.

Nurses with at least 16 years of experience will receive 2 percent raises for each of the next three years.

“It was raised from the bottom up so the younger nurses got a little more for recruitment, and the more experienced nurse was given a 2 percent across-the-board raise for the next three years for retention,” Rodarmel said.

The agreement covers more than 600 registered nurses at Research, which completed its voting on Saturday.

National Nurses United represents nearly 8,000 registered nurses at the 17 hospitals affiliated with the Nashville, Tenn.-based company. The other hospitals are in Florida, Texas and Nevada.

National Nurses United said the agreement increased enforcement of staffing practices, set an eight-hour rest before a nurse can be called back to work after having completed a call shift and provided for stronger grievance procedures and greater access to union representation for newly hired nurses during orientation, among other changes.

It also created a pilot program to provide relief registered nurses so staff can take meal and rest breaks.

“We just worked through our lunch,” said Carolyn Lusby, a registered nurse at Menorah. “We didn’t get a lunch break.”

To reach Mark Davis, call 816-234-4372 or send email to mdavis@kcstar.com. Follow him on Facebook and on Twitter: @mdkcstar.

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