Fox Chase Cancer Center union ratifies first contract

Nurses and technical specialists at Fox Chase Cancer Center voted to ratify their first contract with the hospital.

Nurses and technical specialists at Fox Chase Cancer Center voted to ratify their first contract with the hospital. | FILE / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Updated on 5/30/2024 at 11:33 a.m.

More than 500 nurses and technical specialists at Fox Chase Cancer Center ratified their first union contract Tuesday, the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals, announced in a press release Tuesday night.

The workers voted to unionize last June to address concerns about quality of care indicators like safe staffing, recruitment, retention and recognition of concerns of nurses and technical professionals. 

“A lot of the nurses in my department are very seasoned and one of our main goals was to push for better working conditions and safer staffing for RNs who come after us or are just now starting their careers,” wrote Rossana Caputo, a Fox Chase phone triage nurse, in the press release.

Both the nurses’ and technical specialists’ three-year contracts include establishing committees to discuss improving professional practice and patient care at Fox Chase. 

The hospital is also now required to post current staffing guidelines on a unit and fill holes in a posted schedule, with incentives for taking extra shifts.

The hospital will also now provide one week of paid parental leave beginning in July 2025, matching Temple employees. 

All nurses and technical professionals will receive across-the-board wage increases over the three-year period, along with a one-time ratification bonus. There will also be increases based on seniority to improve recruitment and retention. 

“It was a long and, at times, very frustrating process,” wrote surgical technologist Brian Sheridan, a 19-year employee of Fox Chase Cancer Center, in the press release. “But in the end, it was very rewarding. Our contract, with its provisions for improved staffing, should benefit everyone – our current staff and patients, and our future staff and patients.”

More than 300 nurses and technical professionals at Chestnut Hill Hospital are also negotiating their first contracts after voting to form a union in December 2023.

“We wanted change — not only for our patients, but for ourselves and for the future of nursing — and we accomplished that with this contract,” Caputo wrote.

A previous verison of this story incorrectly stated the number of paid parental weeks the hospital will provide.

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