For Immediate Release
Contact: Randi Hoffman, 212.785.0157, ext. 118
NEW YORK, March 25, 2008 — New York State Nurses Association Pension Fund trustees voted today to certify their pension plan at its 2007 value, maintaining its good or “green” rating. Two-hundred and fifty NYSNA RNs, who had been demonstrating outside 120 Wall Street, cheered at the announcement, a decisive victory following a three-month campaign to secure the pension plan's future.
In voting to certify the pension plan in this manner, the trustees chose to take the one-year extension provided by the U.S. Worker, Retiree and Employer Recovery Act, enacted by Congress last December.
Under the NYSNA Pension Fund, the trustees representing the union receive one vote, and the trustees representing the employer hospitals also receive one vote. NYSNA Pension Plan participants had been waiting since the beginning of March for the employer trustees to decide their vote.
More than 13,000 nurses working in New York City private hospitals are members of this pension plan.
Mercedes Herman, a 58-year-old RN at St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital, was planning to retire if the pension rating extension was not approved. Many other nurses of retirement age said they would also have left their positions in the middle of a nursing shortage in order to ensure their full pension.
“I can plan differently now,” Herman said. “Even though I reached the age of retirement, I had always planned on working as long as I wanted to. Now I have a choice.”
If the trustees had not voted for the extension, they would have had to craft alternative plans by Thanksgiving that potentially could have gutted NYSNA members’ hard-earned benefits.
At the same meeting, the trustees voted to join the National Coordinating Committee for Multi-Employer Plans (NCCMP), a national group lobbying for pension reform. The NCCMP advocated for the Worker, Retiree and Employer Recovery Act.
At the rally outside, the nurses held banners and green balloons. Speakers included New York City Councilman Miguel Martinez and Ed Ott, Executive Director of the NYC Central Labor Council. Representatives from the Uniformed Fire Officers Association and State Assemblymember Naomi Rivera also spoke briefly.
A previous rally was held during the last Pension Fund trustees meeting on March 5.
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.