For Immediate Release
Contact: Mark Genovese, 518.782.9400, ext. 353
MANHATTAN, Dec. 13, 2011 – Registered nurses at New York-Presbyterian Hospital last week approved a four-year extension to their contract.
Agreement on the contract was reached after more than a year of intense contract negotiations. The 3,000 RNs are members of the New York State Nurses Association.
The Nurses Association believes this agreement meets members’ needs for affordable health insurance, safer patient staffing, and decent wages for one of the most skilled nurse workforces in the nation.
“As a result of these negotiations, we believe Presbyterian management has gained a better sense of the nurses’ concerns for practice, their families, and their futures,” said Thomas Darby, nurses association negotiator. “They now understand that the nurses have the right to choose to put money toward benefits rather than salary.”
“Management's understanding and commitment to address not only health insurance, but staffing and other concerns was essential to settling this contract and avoiding the disruption of a strike,” Darby added.
Highlights of the agreement:
This solution to the health insurance issue must be reviewed by the trustees of the Nurses Association Benefit Fund. The association and Presbyterian management agreed that if the fund will not allow the nurses to continue in the fund, and not pay contributions or have the contributions refunded, then the employer will go elsewhere for coverage to make the nurses whole.
“We hope the employer trustees will act responsibly and support the hard work of the parties,” Nancy Kaleda, director of the nurses association's labor program. “It’s not in the best interests of the fund if Presbyterian is forced to leave.”
The nurses' contract campaign at New York-Presbyterian is one of several contentious campaigns at New York City area hospitals, with others including Montefiore Medical Center, Mount Sinai Medical Center, and St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center. Hospital management is seeking to take advantage of the difficult economic climate to cut nurses pay and benefits. The New York-Presbyterian RNs had taken a strike vote in late October. Nurses at St. Luke-Roosevelt, Mount Sinai, and Montefiore voted to authorize a strike over the past few weeks.
The nurses association’s continued contract support efforts includes radio and newspaper advertising in the metropolitan area.
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.
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