For Immediate Release
Contact: Randi Hoffman, 212.785.0157, ext. 118
Mark Genovese, 518.782.9400, ext. 353
KINGSTON, June 27 2008 – Benedictine Hospital management has rejected a request by registered nurses for a fair election campaign as they work to organize with a labor union.
Insufficient nurse staffing, non-competitive salaries, and lack of incentives to retain experienced nurses have prompted Benedictine nurses to seek representation by the New York State Nurses Association.
“We are seeking a unified voice to address workplace issues and the support of a union that represents more than 36,000 RNs,” said Mary D’Orazio, an RN on the Benedictine organizing committee. “We sought the help of a labor union because so much more can be accomplished by working together.”
The nurses filed a petition for election on June 17 with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). A letter was presented by the nurses' organizing committee to hospital CEO Thomas Dee later that day asking that the election campaign be a period of free and fair discussion and debate on union representation.
The RNs sought this agreement because the National Labor Relations Act does not address these issues. Hospitals often try to prevent employees from unionizing through aggressive anti-union campaigns.
The request was rejected, with Dee saying in a letter to the nurses: “We will fight NYSNA's every effort to inject itself into the Benedictine community.”
The Nurses Association has improved wages, benefits, and working conditions for nurses throughout the state. Many of the workplace rights and benefits that nurses enjoy now are the result of gains made by unions like the Nurses Association.
The Nurses Association has helped nurses establish guidelines for safe staffing and has protected workers’ rights through the grievance process, so that RNs can’t be disciplined on a management whim. It has helped nurses earn competitive salaries that reflect the importance and difficulty of the work they do. It has provided nurses with the job security they deserve and won some of the best benefit packages in the nation. All of these factors are important when a facility is trying to recruit nurses and encourage them to stay on staff.
The New York State Nurses Association is the voice for nursing in the Empire State. With more than 36,000 members, it is the state's largest union and professional association for registered nurses. It supports nurses and nursing practice through education, research, legislative advocacy, and collective bargaining.