A second informational picket by healthcare professionals on June 21 forced management of the Plattsburgh facility back to the negotiating table to reach agreement on a new three-year contract.
As the facility converts from defined-benefit pension to plan a tax-deferred annuity, NYSNA members won an increase in the level of contributions the medical center will make from the management’s original proposal and in the ability of staff to qualify. Staff retiring at age 62 will also be eligible for a contribution towards health insurance purchased through the hospital equivalent until they are eligible for Medicare. The percentage will be based on years of service.
“At issue was the amount the employer would contribute to the pension plan,” said Janet Strominger, NYSNA labor relations representative. “We could not agree to a plan that had as devastating an impact on employees as management’s original proposal. It was a priority in our negotiations to keep a comparable plan.”
The contract, approved July 12, provides a salary increase of 4% by Sept. 1, 2007, and annual increases of 3.5% in 2008 and 2009, which will help remain competitive with nearby facilities. A task force of the Safety Committee is to recommend a program to assure safe patient lifting and transferring. The contract also provides for a program to help staff seek treatment for chemical dependency. The contract runs through Dec. 31, 2009.
A new four-year agreement will increase salaries of RN at the Buffalo facility by 3% each year. The contract increases funds available to reimburse RNs for out-of-pocket healthcare expenses. It doubles the money RNs can use each year for staff development, increases longevity stipends and shift differentials, and expands experience credit guidelines to help recruit nurses to dialysis positions. The contract runs through March 31, 2011.
A new two-year agreement will increase base hourly rates for RNs at the Utica agency by $3.50 per hour as of July 1, then will increase by fifty cents per hour in January 2008, and by one dollar per hour by January 2009. These increases are intended to help the make the hospice more competitive in retaining and recruiting RNs by closing the salary gap with other nearby facilities. On-call rates will also increase. A point-system that provides credit on the wage schedule for education, certification, and experience has been revised to give the nurses more credit for prior RN experience. The contract runs through Dec. 31, 2009.
Nurses at Amityville’s Brunswick Hospital Center approved a new three-year agreement on July 12 that increases base salaries by 14% and calls for no change in the employees’ contribution to premiums. Brunswick management, which recently had its bankruptcy plan of reorganization confirmed in court, also agreed to implement a system to track mandated overtime. The new contract includes improved language for holiday and personal time, better layoff language, and an option to buy back sick time. The employer will now reimburse RNs for the cost of certification exams. The contract runs through June 30, 2010.
With more than 34,000 members, NYSNA is the oldest and largest state nurses’ association in the nation. It is an influential union for RNs, representing nurses in New York and New Jersey. Offering a wide range of services to its members, NYSNA fosters high standards of nursing education and practice and works to advance the profession through legislative activity. It is a constituent of the American Nurses Association and of the United American Nurses, an affiliate of the AFL-CIO.