MARSHALL - After extensive negotiations this fall, Avera Marshall Regional Medical Center and the Minnesota Nurses Association have approved a new three-year contract for local MNA members.
The MNA is a bargaining unit representing nurses from around the state, including more than 70 registered nurses at Avera Marshall.
LuAnn Lessman, chairwoman of the local MNA, said the contract was ratified by both MNA members and Avera Marshall on Friday. The terms of the new three-year contract apply retroactively going back to Oct. 1, she said. The previous contract had been set to expire on Dec. 31.
On Wednesday, Avera Marshall President and CEO Mary Maertens said the new agreement "keeps our nurses at the forefront of their profession in this area of the country."
"Our nurses are vital if we are to deliver the best possible care to our patients and their families," Maertens said. "That's why we worked hard to reach an agreement that was respectful, carefully balanced and responsive to the issues that the MNA bargaining committee raised during negotiations."
Lessman said Wednesday that the nurses represented by the MNA still had some key concerns after negotiations, including safe staffing levels.
"There are no perfect contracts," she said of the negotiation process. "However, there was great support from the community."
While Lessman said it's not something that's always done during contract negotiations, local nurses sought support from the public this fall with a hayrack ride down Main Street and a letter published in the newspaper. Lessman said the response nurses received from members of the public was positive.
"We would like to thank the public for their support," Lessman said. "We're looking forward to continuing to serve our patients and the community."