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Nurses at Ascension Borgess approve a three-year contract

Front of multi-story Ascension Borgess Hospital In Kalamazoo
Leonna Larson
Ascension Borgess Hospital in Kalamazoo

The tentative agreement was reached last week, and a ratification vote was held Wednesday

Nurses at Ascension Borgess Hospital approved a new contract Wednesday. It emerged after a lengthy negotiation and strike threat.

The Michigan Nurses Association said the three-year contract offers a 20.5% pay raise in its first year and an additional emergency personal day. The vote in favor was "overwhelming" according to the union, but it didn't give the tally.

Doris Goodrich was a member of the nurses' negotiating team. She said hopefully the agreement marks the beginning of a new chapter at Ascension, one that benefits patients.

Before the bargaining team tentatively accepted a contract, nurses at Borgess had voted to authorize a strike, with 86 percent voting in favor according to the union. That meant the bargaining team could call for a strike, with 10 days' notice to the hospital.