Nursing Negotiations

Welcome to your online source for information about Nursing contract negotiations at MedStar Washington Hospital Center.

This site is provided for MWHC RNs to access updates on negotiations and information about the issues under discussion at the bargaining table.

We encourage you to send comments or questions to [email protected]. We will respond as quickly as possible.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

MWHC Proposal: February 12, 2019

NNU Proposal: February 13, 2019



Friday, February 8, 2019

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

I am pleased to let you know that negotiations with National Nurses United for a new collective bargaining agreement began yesterday. We have additional bargaining dates scheduled through February 20.

The initial proposal from MedStar Washington Hospital Center reflects a sincere effort to align our RN salaries with the current market and to support maintaining market rates over time.

Highlights of the offer include:

  • Brings all RN step levels to market rate, which in some cases means an immediate 6 – 12 percent salary increase, depending on when the contract is agreed to by NNU
  • Provides additional across-the-board increases annually and potentially upon ratification
  • Guarantees annual step rate increases up to step 31
  • Significantly increases Clinical Advancement Program bonuses from $750 (Level 1), $1,000 (Level 2) and $1,500 (Level 3) to $3,000 (Level 1), $4,000 (Level 2) and $5,000 (Level 3)
  • Offers a $700 signing bonus for each RN if the contract is ratified by February 28 so raises could begin March 1
  • Retains the current practice regarding the Commitment Bonus Program
  • Establishes 30 additional nursing positions to support movement towards Resource without assignment and additional RN assignments to manage patient needs

The Q&A below helps explain the economics of the proposal. The new proposal will bring all nurse pay to a level that both retains valued colleagues and supports recruitment of new nurses with attractive salaries and opportunities.

The complete set of initial proposals submitted by both MWHC and National Nurses United are available on our negotiations website ( That site will be updated throughout the negotiations, which are currently scheduled through Feb. 20. Please visit the website regularly for the latest information and feel free to ask questions using the link on the website or by emailing me directly at me at [email protected].


Paul Hagens

Vice President, Human Resources

January 30, 2019

Q: How does the Hospital Center’s wage proposal work?

A: The Hospital Center has assessed wages at each step of the nursing pay scale and verified that, at many levels, nurses have fallen behind the current market under the existing collective bargaining agreement. As a result, the Hospital Center has made a comprehensive proposal that assures all nurses, from new hires to our most senior nurses, will be paid at or above the 50 th percentile in the market, starting on day one of the new collective bargaining agreement. Some specific points:

  • On day one of the new contract, all nurses who are presently below the 50th percentile will receive a one-time increase to their step rate to bring them to market for their level of experience.
  • The proposal retains a step structure so that nurses continue to receive a step increase annually on their employment anniversary date (Date Next Eligible or DNE) up to step 31. The proposal does change the amount of increase between steps to assure nurses compensation continues to increase with comparable market rates as their experience increases.
  • The proposal also guarantees annual Across the Board (ATB) increases up to step 31.

The chart below shows some examples of how the total proposal impacts specific steps, so you can see how the proposal would work in practice. Specifically, we use the example of a step 3 nurse, a step 8 nurse, a step 12 nurse, and a step 20 nurse:

View Chart PDF Here

To read this chart:

  1. Start with the green box on the left side of the grid. Identify the nurse’s current step rate. For step 3, this is $30.94.
  2. The blue column to the right shows the Hospital’s proposed new rate for that step, to bring it to market on day one of the contract. For step 3, that is $33.50, which reflects an 8.29% increase to the step rate.
  3. Next, look to the pink box which shows a proposed 1.25% annual ATB increase that could take effect on day one of the contract. For step 3, the base rate for the step moves to $33.92 when the ATB increase takes effect.
  4. Then finally, during the first year of the new contract, on each nurse’s DNE, the step 3 nurse will move to step 4 (shown in orange), where the new hourly rate will be $35.28. Altogether, in year one of the contract, a Step 3 nurse will see an hourly increase of $4.34/hr, or approximately $9,012 dollars per year. This reflects a 14.9% increase in Year 1.

Nurses can review the complete proposed wage grid at Appendix A in the Hospital Center’s proposal to see the proposed changes to their specific step over the course of a five-year contract. The initial proposals are available on the Hospital Center’s negotiations website (

Q: How do I read Appendix A?

A: Find your current step, and find the box under Year 1 of the contract. That box contains the Hospital Center’s new rate for that step. Next, look one box to the right to find the step rate in year 2 of the contract (which includes the ATB raise of 1.25% that year). Then, drop down one box to the next step to see your new rate at your next DNE. In each year, each nurse below step 31 receives an ATB increase (on the contract anniversary date) and a step increase on their DNE. By moving across to the right and down a box each year, you can track your proposed earnings over all five years of the proposed contract.

Q: Why is the total increase shown on the chart above different for different steps?

A: Over time, some of the steps in the current contract have fallen behind the market, but not all steps were impacted the same way. Some lower steps in particular fell further behind than others. Overall, more senior nurses tended to keep up with or exceed the market. The Hospital Center looked at the market for each step, and is proposing to restore parity between all the steps by moving all nurses (including new hires) to at least the 50th percentile of the market for their step on day one of the contract. This assures that all nurses are immediately paid competitively regardless of step.

Q: Are there any other significant enhancements to the contract that could affect my earnings?

A: The current contract differentials stay the same. There are two new or improved incentives in this contract:

  • Early Ratification Bonus. The Hospital Center’s proposal includes an early ratification bonus of $700 per nurse if a new contract is ratified by February 28, 2019. With respect for the bargaining process and the fact that it takes time, we intend this bonus to show our commitment to deliver market-competitive compensation to all our nurses as quickly as possible. If the union and the Hospital Center can reach an agreement that is ratified by the nurses by February 28, the new contract rates will take effect on March 1, 2019, and each nurse will earn a bonus. If we are unable to reach agreement by then, the ratification bonus goes away, because the Hospital Center has to prepare for other eventualities.
  • Enhanced Clinical Advancement Program. The current proposal also includes enhanced awards for the Clinical Advancement Program, increasing the potential awards from $750/$1,000/$1,250 to $3,000/$4,000/$5,000 for Levels 1, 2 and 3 for the year. This program allows nurses at any level who are committed to advancing their professional practice to earn significant additional income for their contributions to our patients and the nursing workforce.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

I am happy to inform you that we began bargaining with National Nurses United today. We have agreed on a number of bargaining dates through February 20.

We are hoping for an expedited process in order to reach agreement by February 28, 2019, which would allow us to make wage increases effective as early as March 1, 2019, something we believe is in all of our interests. You can find a link to the initial MWHC proposal and to the initial NNU proposal below. We will be updating this site regularly throughout the next few weeks. Please check back often.

MedStar Washington Hospital Center Proposal

NNU Proposal: Jan. 25, 2019

NNU Proposal: Jan.30, 2019

As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me at [email protected].


Paul Hagens

Vice President, Human Resources

December 3, 2018


Anne Strauss
National Nurses United
Washington Hospital Center Nurses
8455 Colesville Rd, Suite 1100
Silver Spring, Maryland 20910

Re: Request to Bargain

Dear Anne:

I am writing to request that National Nurses United commence bargaining for a successor collective bargaining agreement in early January 2019.

Our new leadership at MedStar Washington Hospital Center (MWHC) has committed to the strategic goal of being the best place to work, and we are interested in aligning the collective bargaining agreement to help us meet this goal.

Specifically, we hope to improve nurse compensation to assure we remain competitive in the current marketplace. We hope to implement creative options to allow us to retain the excellent nurses we have, and to continue to recruit the best and the brightest nursing talent in the years ahead. And, we want to share with you our ongoing commitment to the safety and well-being of nurses and all MWHC associates.

We would hope that NNU would support these goals and agree to engage in a constructive bargaining process.

To that end, we would like to meet in December when convenient for your representatives to discuss “ground rules” and potential bargaining dates for the upcoming negotiations.

Thank you and I await your reply.


Paul Hagens

cc: Stephen Frum, RN
Corey Lanham