NEW YORK NURSE: September 2011
by Mark Genovese
RNs at Terence Cardinal Cooke (TCC) Health Care Center want a fair contract that will help recruit and retain nurses.
Management, however, wants to go in the opposite direction. In contract negotiations, the hospital is demanding a reduction of 30 RN positions. This is why more than 70 NYSNA members and supporters took part in an informational picket in front of the Manhattan facility on July 19.
Management seems focused solely on the bottom line. Hospital management has refused to offer any salary increase for this year and is trying to decimate the nurses’ pension and healthcare coverage. And the loss of 30 RN positions would be 26 percent of the current RN workforce. RNs provide care and handle emergencies that other healthcare professionals can’t. Studies show that patient care suffers when healthcare facilities cut RN positions.
NYSNA’s most recent, two-year contract for the 112 RNs expired on Dec. 31, 2010. There have been only 10 negotiation sessions since talks began in December of 2010. And hospital negotiators have slowed the process even more by refusing to discuss NYSNA’s proposals until the union agrees to givebacks.
The nurses at TCC are united in their resolve not to let management downgrade working conditions to a point where it will become difficult to recruit and retain highly skilled registered nurses. The nurses will not let this happen to them, their patients and the communities they serve.