Service & Solidarity Spotlight: Wichita Nurses Ratify First-Ever Union Contracts at Ascension Hospitals

NNU members from Wichita

Working people across the United States have stepped up to help out our friends, neighbors and communities during these trying times. In our Service & Solidarity Spotlight series, we’ll showcase one of these stories every day. Here’s today’s story.

Registered nurses (RNs) at two Ascension-owned hospitals in Wichita, Kansas, voted overwhelmingly in favor of ratifying new two-year contracts. The RNs, represented by National Nurses Organizing Committee/National Nurses United (NNOC/NNU), voted 96% in favor of the contract at Ascension Via Christi St. Francis, and 100% at Ascension Via Christi St. Joseph. The RNs went on strike twice and threatened a third strike, if necessary. Highlights of the contract include safe staffing levels, improved safety guidelines for patients and nurses, and improved compensation and a transparent wage scale based on years of experience.

“This is a historic day for our union, our patients, our hospitals, and the entire city of Wichita,” said Shelly Rader, RN in the emergency department at St. Francis. “We’ve shown Ascension that nurses won’t back down when it comes to fighting for better patient care and better working conditions. We organized to fight for and win a strong contract, and we’re very excited to announce we’ve done just that now that nurses have approved this contract.”