Nurses at St. Joseph in Tacoma get $5 million settlement

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File photo of a nurse (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

TACOMA, Wash. (AP) _ Nurses at St. Joseph Medical Center in Tacoma will receive $5 million in back pay after CHI Franciscan Health agreed to a settlement regarding meal and rest breaks.

The News Tribune reports ( http://bit.ly/2h6NUmW ) that under the settlement, announced by the Washington State Nurses Association, the hospital will create a “block break relief” system, which ensures nurses have uninterrupted breaks, and add 26 nurses to care for patients while other nurses take their breaks. The WSNA filed the lawsuit in May 2015.

In a statement, Cary Evans, Franciscan’s vice president for marketing and communications, said the medical center is pleased to reach a settlement with the state nurses association.

The original complaint filed in Pierce County Superior Court said nurses were prohibited from leaving patient assignments without first assigning those duties to another nurse. The WSNA’s complaint to the court said the hospital had failed to provide paid rest and meal breaks since 2012.