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Nurses, hospital reach labor agreement

KETCHIKAN (KDN) — The Alaska Nurses Association recently announced that the Ketchikan Registered Nurses local bargaining unit ratified a three-year labor contract agreement with PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center.

According to information from the association, Ketchikan nurse members voted “overwhelmingly” in support of the agreement, which followed several months of negotiations that ended with a “community rally and three days of meditation bargaining.”

A statement from the association explained that the contract helps to address nurses’ concerns about safe staffing and includes increased training opportunities across multiple areas to ensure nurses are prepared to maintain “exceptional patient care” in times of high need.

The agreement also addresses “much-needed” wage increases essential to recruiting and retaining “highly qualified nurses” at the medical center in a competitive health care market, and improved scheduling to prevent nurse fatigue and burnout, according to the press release.

“Prior to the agreement, Ketchikan nurses were the lowest-paid nurses within the PeaceHealth hospital system, despite facing higher costs of living and challenges with recruitment,” the statement read.

Ketchikan Registered Nurses bargaining team member Rebecca Albrant said in the statement that she is “excited to have reached an agreement on a contract that will provide opportunities for growth” in their profession and help to retain talented nurses in the Ketchikan community.

“We congratulate the Ketchikan Registered Nurses bargaining unit on reaching an agreement that will support them in providing quality care to their patients, who in a small town like Ketchikan, are also their families, friends and neighbors,” said Donna Phillips, RN, Alaska Nurses Association Labor Council Chair, in the statement.

Shanna Criscola, human resources partner with PeaceHealth, said the hospital is “very pleased” that the negotiations ended with ratification of a mutually satisfactory contract.

She added that the contract demonstrates PeaceHealth’s commitment to providing a competitive wage and benefit package and working with the Alaska Nurses Association, and said the entities shared commitment to PeaceHealth’s mission was evident throughout the entire process.