On October 29, the Massachusetts Nurses Association (MNA) and Caritas Christi Health Care announced the ratification of a new agreement covering almost 1700 registered nurses working at four Caritas hospitals in Dorchester, Brockton, Norwood and Brighton, Massachusetts. Most notably, the new agreement calls for the creation of a multiemployer defined-benefit pension plan, called the Nurses Pension Fund. The defined-benefit pension plan will be jointly set up and administered by Caritas and the MNA and will initially be funded by a new Caritas holding company, Steward Health Care System LLC.
When the MNA merged with the California Nurses’ Association and other state organizations to form National Nurses United (NNU), one of its stated goals was the creation of a multi-employer defined benefit plan such as the Nurses Pension Fund. The establishment of this defined-benefit plan runs counter to a strong national trend that has seen employers freezing or eliminating expensive pension benefits to control costs.
Unionized hospitals can expect this development to result in increased pressure at the bargaining table for improved retiree benefits, and non-unionized hospitals can expect this development to be raised as a selling point by union organizers.
This entry was written by Fred Miner.
photo credit: jason york