MADISON, Wis. - Union nurses from Meriter Hospital took to Brittingham Park Wednesday afternoon to picket against the latest contract in negotiations that have taken almost eight months.
Nurses recently declined what the hospital is calling its final offer. In the latest contract, full time nurses would be paid $95,000 including benefits and overtime. It also included a 4.5 percent pay increase.
But 32-year veteran nurse Mary Malaney said only 3 percent of full time nurses actually make that amount a year, and they have other concerns as well.
"We have concerns about many language items that are on the table," Malaney said.
The contract also stated nurses could "float" between patients and units. Malaney said forcing nurses to switch between unfamiliar positions and patients is a risk to both patients and nurses.
In a release, Meriter Hospital spokesperson Mike Flaherty said, "The offer we made in July is among the best in the city, whether you work for government or a private business. We feel what we've offered truly reflects the respect we have for our nurses who are the major reason Meriter is nationally ranked for patient care and safety."