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September 18, 2018

EMMC nurses reach preliminary contract deal to be voted on Friday

Courtesy Eastern Maine Medical Center Eastern Maine Medical Center, located in Bangor, has grown from a five-bed general hospital into a comprehensive, 411-bed medical center serving communities throughout central, eastern and northern Maine.

After nearly four months of talks, unionized nurses at the Eastern Maine Medical Center have reached a tentative accord on a three-year contract that will be put to a vote on Friday.

If approved, the agreement covering 872 nurses would run through September 2021, the Maine State Nurses Association announced on Monday.

“We are so proud that nurses stood together with the community, to achieve this major victory for our patients and our colleagues,” said Cokie Giles, a registered nurse and bargaining team member who serves as president of the Maine State Nurses Association, in a statement.

She added: “We are confident the improvements in this new contract, once ratified by the nurses, will directly benefit our patients.”

The tentative accord reflects economic gains to keep up with inflation, as well as benefit protections, according to the Maine State Nurses Association, the National Nurses Organizing Committee and National Nurses United. The Maine State Nurses Association represents a total of 2,000 nurses.

EMMC confirmed the preliminary accord in a statement emailed to Mainebiz.

“Through respectful discussions,” it said, “we were able to come to an agreement that continues to focus on the safety of our patients; rewards our nurses for the expert care they provide; affords the Medical Center more flexibility in recruiting, retaining, and staffing to meet patient needs; and works within the realities of the current healthcare environment.”

EMMC said it’s encouraging nurses to ratify the contract in Friday’s membership vote.

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