For Immediate Release
Contact: Mark Genovese, 518.782.9400, ext. 353
WATERTOWN, Sept. 22, 2009 – Registered nurses at Samaritan Medical Center return to contract negotiations on Friday, Sept. 25, with management still refusing to listen to their concerns.
The 390 RNs and their union, the New York State Nurses Association, are seeking to address low nurse-staffing levels that could compromise patient care. Instead, medical center administrators are demanding concessions that could cause nurses to leave Samaritan for facilities with more supportive working environments.
As of last week, there were still 40 unfilled registered nurse positions at Samaritan Medical Center, or about 11% of its RN workforce. The nurses want the medical center keep a promise made prior to recent restructuring that on a typical medical-surgical unit, an RN would be assigned no more than six patients.
During the past six months, however, Samaritan RNs have filed 24 protests over staffing ratio violations, including:
There were eight incidents in which the ICU charge nurse in charge was not able to respond to an emergency and the call had to go to the next charge nurse in line.
Instead of working with the RNs to resolve these issues, the medical center is demanding that the nurses accept a health insurance plan that will provide less coverage with higher out-of-pocket expense. Management negotiators have acknowledged that the medical center can afford to maintain the current health plan.
More than 400 RNs and supporters took part in a two-hour protest on Sept. 3. The nurses’ previous contract expired on Aug. 1.
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.