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UMass Memorial, nurses reach tentative 3-year deal

WORCESTER — UMass Memorial Medical Center and the union representing 1,100 nurses at its University Campus reached a tentative agreement on a three-year contract late Wednesday, avoiding a strike.

The sides were stuck on staffing levels, with nurses demanding more of them be on duty at a time.

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‘‘The three-year contract provides for significant improvements in staffing levels on all floors with limits on nurses’ patient assignments we sought to ensure safe patient care,’’ said Margaret McLoughlin, head of the bargaining unit of the Massachusetts Nurses Association. The contract, which still needs to be ratified by union membership, sets an average patient-to-nurse ratio of 5 to 1.

University Campus nurses received the same pension deal as Memorial Campus nurses and got raises of 1 percent per year.

The agreement came after 18 months of negotiations.

The hospital had said that it was prepared for a strike and had hired temporary nurses.

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