Andrea Riley, president of the Windham Federation of Professional Nurses. Credit: Hugh McQuaid / CTNewsJunkie

Nurses at Windham Hospital voted Friday to approve a settlement with the facility’s owner, Hartford HealthCare, ending a nearly year-long contract dispute over pay, health insurance benefits and mandatory overtime.

The four-year collective bargaining agreement was announced in a Monday press release by the Windham Hospital Federation of Professional Nurses, an AFT CT union representing about 100 nurses at the Willimantic-based hospital.

The agreement decreases the nurses’ insurance premiums and prevents them from being forced into mandatory overtime shifts, according to the release. The agreement goes into effect immediately and replaces the nurses’ previous contract, which expired last December. 

Andrea Riley, a Windham Hospital nurse who serves as the union’s president, said the vote in support of the agreement was overwhelming.

“The road to get here has not been easy, and we’re grateful to our patients and the entire region of having our backs every step of the way,” Riley said. “Now we can focus on what we do best — delivering the great quality care they deserve.”

In a separate release, Donna Handley, president of Windham Hospital, said the administration was pleased the nurses ratified the contract. 

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

Following months of negotiations, the nurses went on a two-day strike in September. That strike was followed by another in October, this one by a separate AFT CT union representing non-clinical workers who are also negotiating contracts with Windham Hospital.

In Monday’s press release, Heather Howlett, president of the non-clinical workers union, said her approximately 200 members supported the nurses’ vote to secure a contract.

“In the meantime, our members continue to work with the hospital’s upper management to secure a fair contract that respects the foundational employees who keep their facilities running,” Howlett said.