For Immediate Release
Contact: Mark Genovese, 518.782.9400, ext. 353
MANHATTAN, March 6, 2008 – Unable to reach agreement after four days of contract negotiations last week, registered nurses at Mount Sinai Hospital will again picket – this time on a day the hospital is undergoing an inspection for accreditation.
Picketing will be from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Tuesday, March 11, in front of the hospital at 1425 Madison Ave. The 1,900 RNs are represented by the New York State Nurses Association. Their most recent contract expired on Dec. 31, 2007.
The nurses chose March 11 for their protest because officials from the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations will be conducting an inspection that day. The nurses intend to use the picket as an opportunity to make inspectors aware of how management is seeking contract concessions while refusing to improve RN working conditions.
Management is demanding the nurses convert their vacation, personal and sick time to a generic “paid time off” system. Although currently employed RNs could opt out, the incentive for doing so is low and the RNs are concerned that this would establish an unequal, two-tier benefit system.
The hospital is also insisting on a pay-for-performance scale. The nurses say the scale is unfair because not every RN can qualify, and financially harmful because it would reduce their credits toward their pensions. The hospital is offering salary raises that would be below increases in the cost of living
The Nurses Association told the hospital that it would be available for negotiations prior to the picketing date. But management refused, then cancelled two other tentative negotiation dates for later this month. Management came back to the table today only after it was ordered to by the mediator.
With more than 36,000 members, the New York State Nurses Association is the nation's oldest and largest state nurses’ association. NYSNA fosters high standards of nursing education, research, and practice; engages in legislative activity; and provides collective bargaining services to registered nurses. Its mission is to advance the profession of nursing and protect the public's health.