For Immediate Release
Contact: Robin Wood, 518.782.9400, ext 223
BROOKLYN, September 7, 2011 – Following another unproductive day at the negotiation table, the New York State Nurses Association, which represents the 500 registered nurses at the Brooklyn Hospital Center, Tuesday issued the required ten-day notice of a strike and announced plans to strike Sept. 19.
“For their patients and their community, the nurses regret the fact that a strike is looking increasingly unavoidable, but they will not accept a contract that downgrades their ability to support their families,” said Roberta Murphy, MS, RN, associate director of the Economic and General Welfare program of the New York State Nurses Association.
“This is not about the hospital being unable to provide a fair and reasonable contract to the nurses; they have said they are choosing other priorities. Investing in retaining experienced nurses and recruiting well qualified new ones is a priority that would provide a strong return to the hospital in terms of quality patient care,” Murphy said.
The Nurses Association remains willing to negotiate a fair contract with Brooklyn Hospital management, and negotiations are scheduled for September 8, 13, 14, and 15. Negotiations have been ongoing since the nurses’ most recent one-year contract expired in December 2010, but have been unproductive.
Hospital management is seeking concessions that cut nurses’ pension, health benefits, and take-home pay. The union is willing to work with management on a reasonable contract in light of the current economic climate, and in fact is proposing ways to provide substantial cost savings to the hospital. Hospital management, however, seems fixated on slashing the nurse’s benefits.
Management is seeking to downgrade the nurses’ pension plan, cutting benefits and removing the option for nurses to retire at 60 without penalty. They are also seeking cuts in the nurses’ health insurance benefits and overall are asking for concessions that would cost experienced nurses at least an estimated $6,180 per nurse over three years and equate to a pay cut of $1,680.
“The nurses still hope to avoid a strike, but we are absolutely resolved that we are not going to accept a contract that does not recognize the value of the critical work nurses do every day. This is a quality-of-life issue for the nurses and a serious issue for the community, which has an interest in knowing that its local hospital is committed to retaining and recruiting highly qualified nurses,” Murphy said. “We are asking the local community to stand with us by letting hospital management know that the community supports its nurses.”
The New York State Nurses Association is the voice for nursing in the Empire State. With more than 37,000 members, it is New York’s largest professional association and union for registered nurses.The association represents registered nurses, and some all-professional bargaining units, in New York and New Jersey. It supports nurses and nursing practice through education, research, legislative advocacy, and collective bargaining.
- 30 -