Tentative contract approved for nurses

Posted: Friday, December 06, 2002

Nurses and management at Central Peninsula General Hospital completed work on a three-year contract Wednesday that will replace the 3 1/2-year deal that expired Oct. 31.

The nurses union and CPGH management began negotiations in September and came to a tentative verbal agreement last month with the aid of a federal mediator. Upon reaching the tentative consensus, the two sides said they needed to return to the table to ensure that the verbal understanding they found during meetings with the mediator translated into cohesive language on paper.

"Agreement is subject to ratification by the nurses and approval by the hospital's board of directors," said Debbie Honer, human resources director for the hospital.

Details of the specific points of the new contract will not be available until the final draft is approved and signed, but some of the issues that were up for review included pay that is equitable to other Alaska hospitals, health care benefits following retirement and patient safety stemming from overtime.

Dianne O'Connell, the labor program director for the Alaska Nurses Association, the organization representing the 90 full- and part-time CPGH nurses, was not able to comment on details of the contract. Earlier, O'Connell said she was positive the nurses would accept the contract, and she said they would meet Dec. 14 and 15 to vote on ratification.

The board of directors of CPGH Inc., the nonprofit organization that manages the Kenai Peninsula Borough-owned hospital, received a draft of the contract Thursday afternoon at its monthly meeting. Board president Diana Zirul said the board would hold a special meeting before the end of the month to ratify it.

"I'm not anticipating any issues in approving the contract," she said.

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