Activists from Windham United to Save Our Healthcare gather outside Windham Hospital to protest the closure of its labor and delivery unit in August. Johnson Memorial in Stafford is the latest hospital to seek permission to close its unit. Katy Golvala / CT Mirror

Nurses at Windham Hospital in Connecticut have finally agreed to new contracts with their employer Hartford HealthCare a year after their previous contracts expired.

Andrea Riley, a registered nurse and president of the Windham Federation of Professional Nurses, said the road to get to an agreement with their employer has been a long time coming.

“It was 365 days right now to the day that it took us to finally ratify and come up with a tentative agreement with the hospital for a contract that will take us through to Dec. 31, 2025,” Riley said on Tuesday, nearly two months following a two-day strike held by the union.

She said getting rid of mandatory overtime for nurses was one of their top priorities.

“Hartford is not the only one that likes to mandate nurses past their shifts to stay, and that just leads to fatigue, error. It’s not in the best interest of the patient or the nurse,” Riley said.

The new contract takes immediate effect and includes a reduction in health insurance premiums.

In a statement, Hartford HealthCare said Windham Hospital is pleased that union members have ratified a new four-year contract. The company is still negotiating a contract with non-nursing staff members.

“More than five months ago, the hospital made a fair and equitable offer and outlined what was needed to settle the contract, while addressing the union’s issues,” Donna Handley, president of Windham Hospital, said in a statement. “We are pleased that, over the past several months, the union was able to work within the economic framework the hospital proposed on June 29 and reach this agreement.”

“We are eager to move ahead and continue in our mission to serve our community,” she added.

This story was first published on Dec. 6, 2022 by WSHU.