For Immediate Release
Contact: Mark Genovese, 518.782.9400, ext 353
SOMERS POINT, NJ, Dec. 22, 2010 – There are alternatives to laying off registered nurses that Shore Memorial Hospital has not fully explored, according to the nurses’ collective bargaining representative, the New York State Nurses Association.
The Nurses Association is willing to sit down with hospital management and discuss ways in which the hospital can save money going forward without involuntarily and adversely affecting the wages, hours and working conditions of the 500 bargaining unit members at Shore Memorial.
This afternoon, the union sent a letter to Alan Beatty, Shore Memorial vice president of human resources, asserting the hospital’s “financial crisis” is the result of its own management decisions related to its ongoing $115-million renovation and expansion project.
“We have already discussed with you less radical alternatives, such as voluntary layoffs and voluntary reductions in hours,” the letter said. “We remain interested in discussing the terms under which the voluntary separation programs offered by the hospital to its non-unionized workforce could be offered to our bargaining unit members. We think offering one or both of those programs to our unit members would save the hospital a significant amount of money and, through continued attrition, reduce, if not eliminate the need to layoff staff or further reduce hours. We are confident that these involuntary measures can be minimized, if not avoided entirely. What we are not willing to discuss under these circumstances are contractual givebacks.”
The letter adds that bargaining unit members rely on the terms of the current contract negotiated by the Nurses Association and hospital management to make decisions on personal and family expenses such as mortgages. “As you know, we are under no legal obligation to modify the terms of the agreement midterm and nothing the hospital has offered in exchange would cause us to consider reopening the agreement. Our nurses are counting on us to preserve the integrity of their contract.”
The letter concludes that if the hospital continues to insist on contractual givebacks, then the hospital, not the Nurses Association, “has decided that there is nothing further to discuss.”
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 professional association and largest union for registered nurses. It supports nurses and nursing practice through education, research, legislative advocacy, and collective bargaining.
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