SMDC nurses ratify contract, ending threat of 1-day strikeSMDC’s registered nurses on Friday overwhelmingly ratified the tentative contract they had reached with the health system just two days earlier.
By: News Tribune staff, Duluth News Tribune
SMDC’s registered nurses on Friday overwhelmingly ratified the tentative contract they had reached with the health system just two days earlier.
About 95 percent of the nurses voting approved the three-year contract, said Dan Englehart, an organizer with the Minnesota Nurses Association, the union representing about 960 registered nurses at SMDC, which is changing its name to Essentia.
“It was a very good turnout,” Englehart said of those who voted between
6 a.m. and 8 p.m.
The vote ends disputes between nurses and the two largest health providers in Duluth, which had been ongoing for months and was headed for a one-day strike. St. Luke’s nurses ratified a three-year contract on Wednesday. Contracts had expired for both groups of nurses on July 1.
As with St. Luke’s, SMDC’s three-year contract contains language that addresses adequate staffing levels and allows nurses the ability to reject patient admissions beyond what they feel they can safely handle. When needed, a mediator would be brought in to find solutions.
The SMDC contract calls for no raise the first year, a 1.8 percent increase during year two and 2 percent in year three.
It also includes enhanced educational benefits and a boost in life insurance coverage from $60,000 to $100,000 or a one-time annual wage.