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« Baltimore 1199ers Going Back to School and Getting Ahead | Main | Standing up for Care at the Supreme Court »

Baltimore Caregivers Help 1199 Nurses Win Major Victory at UMMS Affiliate

With help from their 1199SEIU brothers and sisters, the nurses at Civista Medical Center in La Plata, Md., have a won a strong new contract that protects patient care and ensures professional compensation for RNs.

When negotiations began late last year, officials at Civista — an affiliate of the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS) — had opposed the nurses’ safe staffing proposals and sought to impose significant benefit reductions.

The hospital’s proposed cuts were similar to those it had imposed earlier on Civista caregivers who weren't represented by 1199SEIU. Because those Civista workers had no union representation, they didn't have an organized voice to fight the cuts.

But the 1199 RNs mounted a spirited six-month contract campaign — which included a major rally in April attended by hundreds of 1199 members from Baltimore and D.C. — and dramatically raised community awareness about their fight to ensure quality care at Civista. 

Last week, the nurses reached a tentative agreement with the hospital, and on Wednesday the nurses voted unanimously to ratify the contract. The agreement includes a number of significant victories for Civista patients and nurses:

  • Improvements to staffing standards on every unit where RNs had identified a need.
  • A competitive wage increase of 6.25% over three years that will allow the hospital to retain and recruit the experienced staff needed to provide quality patient care. 
  • The first joint labor-management pilot project in the region that addresses the shared goals of the administration and the nurses.

“Over the last six months, we’ve been fighting for our patients and our community by bargaining for safe staffing at Civista,” said Joy Adiansingh, an RN in Civista’s ICU.

“This agreement really demonstrates the strength of nurses having a union voice to advocate for quality care.” 

“The nurses at Civista Medical Center have set a new standard as advocates for patient care. Their contract will not only allow nurses at Civista to provide the best care to their patients, the joint labor-management pilot program will also help them set an example that other area hospitals can follow,” said 1199SEIU Vice President Vanessa Johnson.

See local coverage of the Civista agreement here.