AUSTIN, Texas — Nurses at Ascension Seton Medical Center Austin (ASCMA) rallied Thursday ahead of contract negotiations, according to the National Nurses Organizing Committee/National Nurses United (NNOC/NNU).
The rally was held at 9 a.m. Thursday at ASMCA, located at 1201 W. 38th Street.
In September, nurses at ASMCA voted in favor of unionizing and joining the NNOC/NNU, the largest nurses' union in the country. The nurses said their reason behind unionizing is to "win improved patient care standards and strong contracts, and they have seen NNOC/NU's proven track record of doing just that in Texas and throughout the country."
With the vote, ASMCA became the largest private-sector hospital to form a union, with the approximately 900 nurses joining more than 3,300 Texas-based members in the NNOC/NNU.
"We decided to form a union to ensure our voices are heard as decisions about patient care are being made," Angelito Dela Cruz, an registered nurse in the pulmonary/renal unit and member of the negotiating team, said in a press release. "We are well aware of the improvements that nurses across Texas have been able to make as members of the NNOC/NNU family."
According to the release, in their contracts, NNOC/NNU have "secured agreements from their hospitals which mandated stricter enforcement of staffing grids and improved infection control measures, including a provision requiring single-use optimal protection with a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patient."
Other notable Texas wins have included wage increases of up to 19% over a 3-year period and the creation of committees to promote diversity, equity and inclusion in hospital recruitment, retention and promotion.
A spokesperson for Ascension released the following statement Thursday:
"We are committed to negotiating in good faith with the nurse members of the bargaining unit of National Nurses United on a new contract for Ascension Seton Medical Center Austin. We look forward to a collaborative dialogue at the bargaining table."
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