For Immediate Release
Contact: Nancy Webber, 518.782.9400, ext. 223
POUGHKEEPSIE, Aug. 20, 2009 – Registered nurses at Vassar Brothers Medical Center have approved a new three-year contract that includes a plan to provide health coverage for nurses after they retire. Retiree health coverage was a crucial issue over the nine months of negotiations between the medical center and the nurses, who are represented by the New York State Nurses Association. There are about 800 nurses in the bargaining unit.
The contract establishes a trust fund that will make it possible for nurses to purchase private health insurance until they are covered by Medicare. The medical center will make an annual contribution of more than $740,000 to the fund, and also will cover start-up costs and annual administrative costs. To be eligible to participate in the retiree health program, nurses must be at least 62 years old and have 20 years of service.
Other provisions of the agreement:
"This agreement will help the hospital to remain vital and continue its mission of providing superior care," said William Conley, NYSNA labor representative.
The New York State Nurses Association is the voice for nursing in the Empire State. With more than 37,000 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.