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Kadlec, nurses reach tentative deal

Nurses and doctors work in an operating room during a surgical procedure at Kadlec Regional Medical Center in Richland. It was announced Wednesday night that the Kadlec Regional Medical Center management and nurses have reached a tentative contract agreement.
Nurses and doctors work in an operating room during a surgical procedure at Kadlec Regional Medical Center in Richland. It was announced Wednesday night that the Kadlec Regional Medical Center management and nurses have reached a tentative contract agreement. Tri-City Herald file

Kadlec Regional Medical Center management and nurses have reached a tentative contract agreement, the Richland hospital announced Wednesday evening.

“The agreement was reached this afternoon after a day of negotiations between the two sides,” hospital officials said in a statement.

“We’re happy to have come together to agree on a new contract. We look forward to working with our nurses to continue to provide the Tri-Cities area with the highest quality of care,” the statement said.

The terms of the new three-year pact aren’t being released pending ratification by the nurses, the statement said.

A spokeswoman for the Washington State Nurses Association, which represents the nurses, confirmed that a tentative pact is in place.

She didn’t yet know when a ratification vote would be held. She said the association may release more information Thursday.

The contract covering about 800 registered nurses expired Nov. 30.

Negotiations for a new pact started months before that, with staffing levels, paid time off and sick leave emerging as the main sticking points.

In early December, nurses took an advisory vote on a possible future strike. It won 90 percent approval from the nurses who attended.

The vote didn’t authorize a strike. It was described as a way to gauge how the nurses felt at that point.

This past Monday, nurses and community members gathered for a candlelight vigil ahead of Wednesday’s negotiation session.

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