For Immediate Release
Contact: Mark Genovese, 518.782.9400, Ext. 353
VALHALLA, June 4, 2007 – Why are registered nurses no longer worth the investment?
This is what RNs at Westchester Medical Center (WMC) will be asking at an informational picket during a medical center fundraiser at the Grasslands Reservation from 5:30 to 8 p.m. on Saturday, June 9.
The medical center’s more 1,300 RNs, represented by the New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA), have been working without a contract since April 1, 2006.
The nurses have been seeking through negotiations to address practice and patient care issues. They are seeking to limit the temporary transfer of nurses to units for which they may have not been properly trained – a practice called “floating,” better protection from layoffs, and recruitment incentives such as a reasonable wage increase. Improving working conditions can help hospitals recruit and retain nurses, which in turn can improve staffing levels.
However, management apparently came to the table only to make cuts. It wants to do away with the nurses’ current retirement health plan and replace it with plan that would increase the costs for retirees while providing less coverage.
“Management’s proposal isn’t fair to RNs who dedicated their careers to serving this community,” said Kevin Smith, RN, NYSNA nursing representative and a former medical center employee. “This sends a message to current and prospective employees that RNs are expendable. This isn’t right.”
“Hospitals with better staffing have better patient outcomes,” Smith added. “It makes you wonder: What are the medical center’s real priorities?”
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.
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