PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Nurses and other unionized workers at Women & Infants Hospital have approved a new four-year contract that calls for wage increases and the start of employee contributions to health care costs.
The vote this week was 1,138 to 55. The contract includes what the hospital called ‘‘modest’’ wage hikes in all but the first year and has employees beginning to make contributions to their health care in 2014. It also creates an education fund that will support professional development.
The agreement covers some 1,700 nurses, technicians, service workers and clerical staff.
Patrick Quinn, executive vice president of Service Employees International Union District 1199, calls it a ‘‘good contract’’ that recognizes the need to invest in workers. He says wages will increase about 6 percent over the four-year period and that about $400,000 will be spent on workforce development.
Hospital Chief Operating Officer Mark Marcantano says the agreement balances the need to contain costs while ensuring that Women & Infants provides high-quality care and is a ‘‘workplace of choice.’’ He says he appreciates union leaders’ vision and creativity during the negotiations, which began in September.
The contract runs through November 2016.