NEW YORK NURSE: June/July 2012
by Mark Genovese
Shore Medical Center RNs took a step on May 2 toward winning a new contract when they voted resoundingly to keep their representation with NYSNA.
Originally voting for professional representation in 2001, this election reaffirmed the nurses' commitment to their profession, their patients, and their community.
“This election has demonstrated our unity and commitment to our professional affiliation with the Nurses Association,” said Christina Colletti, a member of the negotiating committee. “It shows hospital management that we intend to stay the course. That what was meant to divide and weaken us simply served to unite and strengthen us.”
NYSNA represents more than 400 RNs at Shore. The nurses have been trying to negotiate a new contract since November 2011. Their most recent three-year contract expired on Dec. 31, 2011. Even though a mediator has been at several negotiation sessions, a mediator alone cannot force the parties to reach an agreement.
The hospital had launched an aggressive campaign to persuade nurses to vote “NO” for professional representation. This energy could have been put to better use – such as by agreeing to a contract that provides affordable and comprehensive health coverage and protects patient safety by ensuring the hospital’s ability to recruit and retain nurses.
“We are prepared to take any steps necessary to ensure a fair contract for our members,” said bargaining unit chair Joanne Venice. “We will give the hospital a tight timeline within which it must comply, and rally the many supporters that aided our election to send a clear and decisive message: A fair contract now!”