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    Tufts nurses approve new contract

    The unionized nurses of Tufts Medical Center have approved a new contract, officially ending a long labor dispute that included a contentious strike last summer.

    The Massachusetts Nurses Association did not disclose how many of its 1,200 members at Tufts participated in the vote, which ended Wednesday night, but said the results were “overwhelmingly” in favor.

    “We are very proud of all we have accomplished and how unified our members were in fighting for a fair contract that helps and protects both patients and nurses,” Barbara Tiller, a nurse who co-chairs the union’s bargaining team, said in a statement after voting concluded Wednesday night. “We are looking forward to starting a new chapter for nursing at Tufts Medical Center.”

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    Union and hospital leaders negotiated their new contract for 20 months. But they clashed on several issues, and last July, the nurses held a one-day walkout. Tufts locked out the striking nurses for an additional four days.

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    They finally reached a tentative agreement on Dec. 18, at Boston City Hall, where they met at Mayor Martin J. Walsh’s invitation.

    “We are thrilled that our nurses have voted in favor of ratification,” Dr. Michael Wagner, chief executive of Tufts, said in a statement. “All of us are eager to close this challenging chapter and refocus 100 percent of our energy on working as one aligned team and continuing to deliver the outstanding patient care for which we are known.”

    The new contract will run for three years and nine months. All nurses will get a 6 percent pay increase over that time, and nurses at the top of the pay scale will get an additional 5 percent increase. (Most nurses, except those at the top of the scale, will continue to receive 5 percent annual step raises, which were not in dispute.)

    The union and the hospital also reached agreement on two issues that were previously in dispute, retirement benefits and staffing levels. The terms of the new contract went into effect immediately.

    Priyanka Dayal McCluskey can be reached at priyanka.mccluskey@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @priyanka_dayal.