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The Commons

Tentative contract reached between Retreat, union

Originally published in The Commons issue #182 (Wednesday, December 12, 2012).

BRATTLEBORO—A representative for the United Nurses and Allied Professionals (UNAP) has confirmed that Local 5086’s bargaining team and Brattleboro Retreat management have reached a tentative deal on a new labor contract.

According to Jack Callaci, UNAP’s director of collective bargaining and organizing, the local’s bargaining team had “tough judgements to make,” and a “difficult job” hammering out the contract.

Callaci said members of Local 5086 will vote to ratify the contract Monday, Dec. 17. He would not release details of the tentative contract before union members had time to read the document.

The union’s contract expired earlier this autumn. Negotiations became tense. Union members held multiple informational pickets in front of the hospital and were further angered by the Retreat’s announcement that it would cut two programs and lay off 31 employees.

The disputed contract points between the Retreat and union centered on staffing levels, raises, pension contributions, health insurance, shift differentials, and medical levels.

Peter Albert, Senior Vice President for Government Relations and Managed Service Organization, said the Retreat and union signed the tentative agreement about 2:30 a.m. on Tuesday.

“A lot of people put a great deal of work into this,” Albert said.

The Retreat is a not-for-profit mental health and addictions treatment hospital providing in-patient and out-patient services, founded in 1834.

It is one of Windham County’s largest employers. The in-patient units are staffed around the clock across three shifts.

UNAP represents about 6,200 registered nurses, technologists, therapists, support staff, and other health care workers in Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

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