HOLLIDAYSBURG - The union representing registered nurses at Valley View Home is signing a three-year contract with Blair County guaranteeing three years with 3 percent annual raises.
Commissioners Diane Meling and Ted Beam Jr. voted Tuesday to approve the contract with the Office of Professional Employees International Union, affecting 14 registered nurses, retroactive to Jan. 1 and effective through Dec. 31, 2014.
The contract will allow Valley View to keep a competitive pay level for its registered nurses, home Administrator Chris Dear said.
"It will help us keep our current staff," Dear said.
The demand for registered nurses is strong and is expected to remain strong through 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor reports on its website. U.S. News & World Report, in a Feb. 27 story titled Best Jobs of 2012, put registered nursing at the top because of the anticipated growth in employment.
In negotiating the pay raises, Meling said the nurses' union agreed to 10 sick days instead of 12, which will cut back on non-work hours. The union also agreed to higher deductibles on employee health care insurance packages.
Telephone calls to union representatives were not returned Tuesday.
"We had a very amicable negotiation," Meling said.
The new contract replaces a two-year contract that froze the wages of registered nurses in 2010 and granted 3 percent raises for 2011. At that time, the registered nurses union became the last county union to agree to a one-year wage freeze initiated with other unions when commissioners were having difficulty balancing the county budget.
Mirror Staff Writer Kay Stephens is at 946-7456.