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ACMH Hospital reaches contract agreement with nurses union

| Friday, April 25, 2014, 5:33 p.m.

After four months of negotiations, ACMH Hospital and its nurses union agreed to a labor contract on Friday.

The nursing union, which is part of the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals, and hospital administrators agreed on a 28-month contract that expires on Sept. 1, 2016.

The previous two-year contract expired in December, but the 260-person nursing staff continued working under its terms to prevent any work stoppages, said PASNAP Executive Director Bill Cruice.

“The hospital was very willing to work with us, and we're very appreciative we could come to terms,” Cruice said.

The agreement ties years of service to wage increases that could be has high as 8 percent during the term of the contract. The average ACMH Hospital nurse makes $28,000 per year, Cruice said.

The pact includes a 1.5 percent increase to retirement contributions of nurses who have been working at ACMH for at least 10 years, which includes about half of the staff. The increase brings the hospital's average retirement contribution to 5 percent, Cruice said.

The contract addresses staffing shortages at the hospital in East Franklin, said Dottie Guntrum, an ACMH Hospital nurse and local PASNAP president. In December, the patient-to-nurse ratio was 3-1 at ACMH Hospital, while the national standard is 2-1, Guntrum said.

The contract requires the hospital to hire four full-time and two part-time nurses to address staffing shortages. The employees will be used to form a critical care team who will work throughout the hospital.

“We needed to make sure there was more staffing available, to allow better care for patients,” Guntrum said. “We're satisfied because this was an important issue that needed addressed to make everyone comfortable.”

Anne Remaley, vice president of human resources at ACMH Hospital, did not return phone calls seeking comment about the contract.

Brad Pedersen is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-543-1303, ext. 1337.

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