NEW YORK NURSE: March 2009
Delegate Assembly notes
by Mark Genovese
Delegates elect new officers
Members of the NYSNA Delegate Assembly elected a new slate of officers during a two-day session on Jan. 26 and 27:
- Roderic Roca, Zone 1 delegate from Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center in Ogdensburg was elected to a two-year term as Delegate Assembly president. Roca is currently vice president of the assembly and president of the NYSNA bargaining unit at Claxton-Hepburn.
- Diane Earl, Zone 5 delegate and grievance chair at A.O. Fox Memorial Hospital in Oneonta, was elected to serve the remaining year of Roca’s term as vice president.
- Eileen Dunn, a Zone 9 delegate and president of the NYSNA bargaining unit at St. Vincent’s Catholic Medical Center in Manhattan, was elected to a two-year term as treasurer.
- Mercedes Herman, a Zone 9 representative and NYSNA release-time representative at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center in Manhattan, was elected to a one-year term as secretary. The current secretary, Zone 9 delegate José Planillo, will end his term with the assembly in August.
To give newly elected officers more time to learn about the duties of their new positions, the assembly approved a rule change that will call for them to take office at the conclusion of the assembly’s April meeting. Outgoing officers will serve as mentors to incoming officers until September.
Delegates share experiences
Issues discussed during “zoning in,” a portion of the meeting that gives delegates an opportunity to discuss issues affecting their local areas and bargaining units, included:
- Urging local bargaining unit members to help the association keep track of management abuse of overtime and prevent management attempts to stretch interpretation of the state’s new mandatory overtime ban.
- Educating and encouraging members to fill out protest of assignment forms. Some delegates shared how they developed internal systems to track and investigate the reasons for protest.
- Discussing examples of poor decision-making by hospital administrators leading to trouble and the resulting threats of restructuring or “staffing adjustments.”
Reflecting on this past year
EGW Director Lorraine Seidel said the challenges the association faced in 2008 gave it an opportunity to reevaluate how it provides services for members and prompted it to develop new strategies to help determine and meet members’ needs:
- “It’s important that we know who our members are,” Seidel said, noting that nursing representatives have stepped up their efforts to visit every unit and every shift and NYSNA leaders have been conducting “listening tours” at several local bargaining units.
- She noted that since April, EGW representatives have completed negotiations for 46 contracts covering 15,000 members with another 6,400 currently in negotiations.
- In 2008 the association filed 1,165 grievances on behalf of its members, she said. Of this, 400 have been successfully resolved, and 134 are still in the pipeline. The association won seven arbitrations.
- The organizing department is continuing to “grow the association,” recently winning elections at two upstate facilities.
- Seidel added that 43% of contracts now address retiree health coverage, through a volunteer employee benefit association reimbursement plan or a stipend for retirees to purchase health insurance.