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Backus Hospital nurses overwhelmingly ratify 4-year contract that boosts pay, provides new face mask policy

Unionized nurses at Backus Hospital have overwhelmingly ratified a four-year contract that provides pay raises and daily replacements of face masks, the Backus Federation of Nurses announced Thursday.

Nurses at the Norwich hospital voted nearly unanimously to approve the settlement that was negotiated Saturday with Hartford HealthCare, the hospital’s parent company, the union said. It did not report the vote count.

“Now we can focus on what we do best — delivering the great quality care all of our patients deserve,” said Sherri Dayton, president of the Backus Federation of Nurses.

Pay raises of 12% by the third year of the contract and 14% by the fourth year was a big win for the union, which wants to see an end to nurses leaving for better paid jobs. The union represents more than 400 nurses at Backus.

In addition, Hartford HealthCare agreed to single-use face masks. Nurses said they had to use masks stored in brown paper bags. The four-year agreement, which is effective immediately, also provides rooms for breastfeeding mothers, reduces employees’ insurance premiums and keeps nurses’ rights to daily overtime.

Nurses had been working under the previous contract that expired Sept. 1.

Stephen Singer can be reached at [email protected]

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