For Immediate Release
Contact: Mark Genovese, 518.782.9400, ext. 353
ONEIDA, July 10, 2008 – Proposed pension plan changes are the main issue in a contract dispute between registered nurses and Oneida Healthcare Center management. The center has claimed its contract offer is “competitive.” But the nurses’ collective bargaining representative, the New York State Nurses Association, said the proposal will be financially damaging.
In protest, the RNs will conduct an informational picket on Tuesday, July 15, from 4:30 to 6 p.m., in front of the hospital at 321 Genesee St. The most recent three-year contract for the 108 RNs expired on Dec. 31, 2007. The nurses are fighting administration’s demand that they give up their defined-benefit pension coverage for new hires. The RNs are concerned that this will be the first step toward phasing out the plan entirely.
During a recent demonstration, a member of the hospital’s board of directors coldly told the nurses that defined benefit pensions are "a thing of the past" and that they "need to get over it.” This offhand remark gave the nurses stunning insight into the attitude of the center’s decision makers and is only encouraging the RNs to step up their efforts, including extensive advertising in local media.
“The nurses are trying to find a middle-ground during negotiations, but administration isn’t,” said Vickie Longo, RN, Nurses Association nursing representative. “We work hard for you, your families, our community,” wrote one Oneida RN in an eloquent letter to the local newspaper, “We deserve to be treated fairly by administration.”
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.