Nurses’ union ratifies contract with Veterans Administration

BUFFALO - Members of National Nurses United approved their first-ever nationwide master contract, covering 9,000 RNs at 22 Veterans Affairs (VA) hospitals and two clinics, in early October, NNU said. The last unit to ratify was in Buffalo, N.Y.

The pact features nurse input on staffing and safety provisions on workplace violence, ergonomics, safe patient handling, and union involvement in safety inspec-tions, among other areas. RNs will be able to report unsafe conditions without reprisal.

The contract limits schedules to 16-hour shifts for emergencies only, allowing time between shifts so nurses can be fully rested. It limits mandatory overtime

"This is precedent-setting both in terms of the rights of RNs in the VA system and for protecting patient care standards. RNs have a process to object to unsafe assignments. There are so many great provisions and new RN rights in this contract," said Irma Westmoreland of the VA Medical Center in Albany, Ga., chair of the union's VA directors.

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  • It is interesting that "Obamacare" has in the law protection not just for R.N.s but ALL medical workers that have hands on roles with the care of patients. It gives respect not just for the higher level of staff but for all workers, Aides, and orderlies! Unfortunately most medical centers are run like profitable big business and profit making institutions so that low staffing, overwork and injuries along with a system of staff levels that perpetuate class systems setting workers against workers are the norm. The NNU is breaking through and uniting workers and in the end will give better care to patients. This article is good news and inspiring to medical workers like myself.

    Posted by viviana, 10/18/2012 7:39pm (3 years ago)

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