NEW YORK NURSE: January/February 2009
by Randi Hoffman
The 310 NYSNA members at Peconic Bay Medical Center on Long Island ratified a two-year contract on Dec. 23, 2008. Negotiations had been underway since September.
The contract includes participation in the NYSNA Pension Plan for members with ten years of service, beginning in January 2010, and they will retain their current retiree health benefits.
Safe staffing ratios have also been maintained in the contract. In intensive care there will be one RN for every two patients. Staffing levels for other units are specified in detail in the contract. The contract also contains language on the enforcement of these staffing guidelines.
Peconic Bay Medical Center is one of three NYSNA bargaining units that contain members who are not RNs. NYSNA members there include pharmacists, respiratory and physical therapists, x-ray technicians, medical technologists, social workers, and several other job classifications.
“Knowing the economy, I think it is a pretty good contract,” said Diane Groneman, respiratory therapist and co-chair of the Peconic negotiating committee. “We only had a one-year contract last time. Now we’re comparable with the surrounding hospitals.”
She added that the negotiating team has been together for three contracts and that was useful. “It was very tough from the get-go, but I and the rest of the negotiating team would like to thank the membership for their support through this intense struggle through to ratification.”