NEW YORK NURSE: October 2010
by Mark Genovese
With talks about rehabilitating the NYSNA Pension Plan approaching a standstill after nearly 18 months, the plan’s trustees have agreed to third-party arbitration.
Thirty-two facilities participate in the NYSNA Pension Plan, covering more than 14,000 members. The plan’s Board of Trustees is made up of an equal number of representatives from the association and from management of the participating facilities.
As this edition went to press, representatives from both sides were participating in arbitration, with sessions held in Manhattan on Sept. 24, Sept. 30, and Oct. 7 and planned for Oct. 15.
Employer trustees contend they need to cut benefits by:
NYSNA estimates this particular change could adversely impact 30 percent of the plan’s members – who reduced their work status to part time or took a leave of absence.
The arbitrator has the authority to shape the plan and can rule in favor of either party, decide on a plan in the middle, or create multiple options.
An arbitration ruling is expected to be issued by Nov. 1 and a default plan must be in place by Nov. 26.
Nearly 3,000 nurses covered by the NYSNA pension plan will be eligible to retire by the end of the year. NYSNA is concerned that, if they don’t believe a fair pension plan will be available in the future, they will retire now. A mass exodus of this sort would put a huge strain on the profession and affect patient care.
The uncertainty of contribution rates for individual employers will also affect contract negotiations for many bargaining units. If no plan is in place within 180 days of a contract’s expiration, a default plan will be imposed at that facility.
A Pension Rescue Task Force made up of NYSNA members and staff has been involved in an intensive campaign to educate members through letters, bulletins and posters, and influence trustees and legislators through petition and postcard drives. A radio campaign was started in late September and will run through November.
Special pension interregional meetings continue to be held for members of local executive committees. NYSNA urges all members covered by the pension plan to stay informed, mobilize, and support their NYSNA negotiation teams.
For more information, and to listen to the radio ad, visit the NYSNA website at: http:// www.nysna.org/union/pension_update.htm.