Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor. Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik / BDN

Nurses at Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center have voted to extend their labor contract for two years, the nurses’ union and the Bangor hospital said Tuesday.

Members of the nurses’ union voted overwhelmingly to approve the agreement earlier this month after Northern Light Health, EMMC’s parent organization, made several concessions, according to the Maine State Nurses Association, who represents more than 900 EMMC nurses.

Those include staffing changes in critical care departments that nurses had requested for three years, the association said.

The tentative agreement between the union and EMMC was first announced to union members on April 1. The nurses’ ratification vote took place on April 8.

The agreement builds upon previous contracts to give the nurses a significant voice at the medical center, said Maine State Nurses Association President Cokie Giles.

“One of the strongest parts of this agreement is that it doesn’t have any takeaways of any kind,” she said.

EMMC leadership was happy to have reached an agreement with the nurses, who have adapted to the tremendous new responsibilities brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, said Deb Sanford, EMMC’s vice president of nursing.

“Our common focus has always been on caring for our patients, our community, and each other,” Sanford said. “This agreement highlights the strength in collaboration that I’ve seen all year.”