Sparrow Hospital healthcare professionals — including nurses, pharmacists and laboratory scientists — voted "overwhelmingly" on Friday night to ratify a new three-year contract, effective immediately.
“We are pleased to have secured a new long-term contract covering our hardworking and dedicated caregivers,” Amy Brown, Sparrow Hospital chief nursing officer, said in a statement on behalf of the hospital. “We are grateful to all of our caregivers for continuing to put our patients and the community first by delivering outstanding care during these unprecedented times.”
The new contract between Sparrow Hospital and the Professional Employee Council of Sparrow Hospital-Michigan Nurses Association, which represents more than 2,000 caregivers at the hospital, is the first in the region to guarantee fixed nurse-to-patient ratios, regardless of whether or not there is a pandemic.
“We are so proud of what we have accomplished for our patients and our community,” Karen Hunsaker, registered nurse and member of the union bargaining team, wrote in a statement. “We believe that this contract will help us provide the highest quality of care.
There are also contractual guarantees that all caregivers will receive the appropriate personal protective equipment when caring for patients who have or may have COVID-19.
“This contract makes both caregivers and patients safer,” Tammy Parsons, registered nurse and treasurer of the union, wrote in statement. “We are proud to lead on this issue and hope that this contract will help pave the way for other hospitals in the state to make similar commitments to caregivers and to the community. The pandemic has been here for almost two years now. Safe staffing and proper PPE need to be treated as an essential requirement, not an optional luxury.”
Sparrow healthcare workers also received significant raises without forfeiting healthcare premiums or sick days, which union leaders said they believe will help the hospital recruit and retain healthcare staff.
“We believe that this is truly one of the best contracts in the state if not the country,” Kevin Glaza, a pharmacist at Sparrow Hospital and vice president of the union, wrote in a statement. “We want to thank our community for their support. Please know that we always advocate for you. We are committed to using our voices and our new contractual rights to continue working to keep our patients and our community safe.”
Negotiations for the contract began at the end of July, and took 29 bargaining sessions.