NEW YORK NURSE: December 2010
by Mark Genovese
Negotiations continue for a first contract for the RNs NYSNA represents at Benedictine Hospital and Nistel, Inc. in Kingston. Progress has been steady, but slow – which can be typical when negotiating an initial contract. Complicating matters has been Benedictine Hospital’s unwillingness and NYSNA’s insistence that NYSNA representatives have access to RN members on their floors.
“Employers who seek to maintain a professional relationship with the association normally allow NYSNA members to hold brief update meetings in the non-patient care areas of their units,” said NYSNA Program Representative Janice Treanor. “They’ve realized that it is in their interest to make use of the association’s nursing practice expertise. It’s a fact that studies have shown that nursing practice improves in hospitals where nurses are represented by unions.”
While NYSNA doesn’t formally represent all of the registered nurses employed by the Health Alliance of the Hudson Valley, it will continue to work with the RNs of Kingston Hospital to ensure their practice is the best it can be.
NYSNA expresses its appreciation to all who supported its recent organizing campaign at Kingston Hospital. Although a majority of RNs there did not vote in favor of a professional union on Nov. 12, NYSNA intends to continue to help all Health Alliance RNs who wish to make improvements for their patients, themselves, and their communities.
“A union gives the nurses an equal voice with management in how a hospital can best care for its patients,” said Lorraine Seidel, director of NYSNA’s Economic and General Welfare Program. “During the more than five decades that NYSNA has been representing RNs, it has improved wages, benefits, and working conditions such as mandatory overtime and staffing.”
Seidel added, “We hope Kingston Hospital RNs will hold Health Alliance accountable in the coming months to strengthen the voice of nursing in matters related to safe staffing; retention and recruitment of the most qualified RNs in the region; fair, yearly base salary increases; and a real pension. We will continue to stay in touch and monitor this progress.”