NEW YORK NURSE: July/August 2008
by Mark Genovese
On May 28, the 30 RNs at the City University of New York (CUNY) ratified a 37-month agreement. It will go into effect retroactively from Aug. 16, 2007, and run through Sept. 15, 2010. It provides a net compound salary increase of 11.57%. Across-the-board increases applied to total salary (base plus experience) are 3.15%, 4%, and 4%. The across-the-board increases will also be applied to the shift differential, the nurse specialty differential, and the uniform allowance. In addition, the new contract includes an increase in welfare fund contributions and improvements in meal allowances, car allowances, and the use of sick time to care for family members.
Nurses at Beth Abraham Health Services in the Bronx, the Lower East Side, and East Harlem won many firsts in their three-year contract ratified on June 11. They received a wage increase of 9.3% over the life of the contract and an increase in the experience differential from $13,000 to $16,000, the largest increase in many years. Retiree health benefits include $2,500 a year after 20 years of service for nurses age 60 to 65. The 289 RNs also gained five weeks of paid vacation after five years of service and hourly pay for preceptors was instituted for the first time. Each RN will receive either a laptop or desktop computer, and an increased car mileage allowance. Also included in the contract are strengthened staffing and non-nursing duties guidelines and payment for English as a Second Language (ESL) courses.
The 213 RNs of Prison Health Services (PHS) now have a three-year contract, ratified on June 6. Retroactively from Jan. 1, 2008 to Dec. 31, 2010, the nurses will receive a post-retirement health benefit of $2,500 a year. Nurses who retire between the ages of 60 and 65 with 20 years in the NYSNA pension plan and seven years with PHS are eligible to receive the benefit. RNs will receive a 3% salary increase every year in base compensation and also 3% in experience differential on all steps. There is also an increase in the charge duties differential and improvements in overtime language. Funding for continuing education programs will increase to $500 a year, and the employer will contribute $1,000 per year for nurse practitioners continuing education.
The 73 RNs of Gracie Square Hospital, a psychiatric facility on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, are very proud to have negotiated their three-year contract in just three sessions. The contract was ratified on June 30. The base salary will increase 3.5% for each of the three years and other increases will be implemented for experience, shift, education, and certification differentials. Upon retirement, full- and part-time employees who have been continuously employed by the hospital for at least 20 years will receive up to $1,850 a year for medical, dental, and prescription costs.
The 12 RNs at the Horseheads Central School District unanimously ratified a three-year contract on June 23. The new contract guarantees a RN in every school building, or, in an emergency, an LPN supervised by an RN. Nurses who assist with regularly scheduled athletic physical examinations in September and June will be paid their regular hourly rate for all hours outside of their regular workday. Effective Oct. 1, each active unit member will receive a district contribution of $200 per year for uninsured medical expenses, up to $600 total. Nurses will now need only 10 years of service, to be eligible for retiree health insurance.
RNs employed by this county in the Finger Lakes Region approved amendments to their contract that establish the rights of county employees who transfer into bargaining unit positions. The amendments cover aspects such as establishment of the employee’s step on the experience scale, credit of prior service, time accruals, and eligibility for benefits. Prior to this agreement, employees had no rights when they transferred from a non-bargaining-unit position to a bargaining-unit position. The RNs’ current agreement runs through June 30, 2010.
RNs at the Visiting Nurse Service Association of Schenectady County ratified a three-year contract on May 14. The RNs will receive annual raises of 3.0%, 3.25%, and 3.5%. Nurses authorized to perform IVs, trachs, complex wound treatments, and tube feeding and who are willing to take preceptor training will receive additional pay, as will nurses in mental health authorized to perform dementia treatment. A nurse who has completed orientation and performs case management responsibilities will receive a differential.
NYSNA members at this Dunkirk facility approved two mid-contract measures designed to help address a shortage of registered respiratory therapists (RRTs) in the hospital’s Cardiopulmonary Department. One provision permits the hospital to make use of RRTs from temporary agencies to help relieve staff RRTs from the burden of mandatory overtime. The second provides for a $5,000 sign-on bonus for newly hired registered respiratory therapists. The current contract runs through June 30, 2010.
A three-year contract for the two RNs at the Woodbury Center for Health Care will provide a 3% pay increase each year. They will also receive experience differentials and continuation of NYSNA benefits.