For Immediate Release
Contact: Mark Genovese, 518.782.9400, Ext. 353
VALHALLA, June 15, 2007 – If Westchester Medical Center (WMC) is still negotiating a contract with its registered nurses, as management claims, when is the next session?
For more than a year, the New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA), the nurses’ collective bargaining agent, has repeatedly asked the medical center to accept its counter proposal – which would better meet the nurses’ retirement needs and improve the medical center’s ability to recruit. But the medical center has ignored the nurses’ requests. As a result, talks are not currently scheduled to resume.
In response, the nurses will conduct their second protest within two weeks – during a barbecue for employees to mark the medical center’s 30th anniversary. Picketing will be from noon to 2 p.m., Wednesday, June 20, on the medical center grounds. The nurses have invited other area labor and community organizations to join them.
For more than year, the nurses have been trying to resolve developing problems that they believe will threaten the quality of care at the medical center. Medical center officials, however, are demanding givebacks in the nurses’ retirement-health benefit plan. NYSNA believes such radical givebacks will put the medical center in a less-competitive position to recruit registered nurses. This could worsen staff shortages, which would in turn affect the quality of care patients receive.
“The nurses need a new contract,” said Kevin Smith, RN, NYSNA nursing representative. “But it takes two parties to negotiate. WMC nurses have been with out a contract for more than a year. For them, there’s nothing to celebrate.”
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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