The NYSNA nurses have been bargaining since April 2016 with Ozanam Hall and after multiple sessions, still remain far apart from Ozanam on the core issues of the contract: safe staffing, health and safety, and economics. All of these critical issues are the reasons why highly-skilled, well-trained Registered Nurses (RNs) stay or leave Ozanam Hall and other Queens facilities. Ozanam Hall, which is owned by the Carmelite Health System, is unique in that it is a true sub-acute facility that treats patients of a much higher acuity level than a typical long-term care nursing home. Recruiting and retaining a strong RN workforce is critical to continuing its clinical mission as a sub-acute facility.
Safe Staffing at Ozanam Hall directly affects the level of care provided, and there must be a sufficient number of RNs on duty at all times. Additionally, many patients are sent to Ozanam for long terms, have complex illnesses, and have family members that are at their side for weeks, months, if not years. Ozanam Hall needs a committed full time RN workforce that knows the patients, and has the time to administer their long term care plans.
NYSNA has also proposed a Professional Practice Committee, which will provide RNs with regular and consistent input on safe staffing and other practice issues. The NYSNA RNs run patient care on these nursing home floors, why do they want to silence the RNs voice on patient safety? During most shifts, the RNs are the highest clinical authority on duty- with many medical staff only coming for evaluation and orders. The RNs are trusted by Ozanam with the patient’s lives every day, but for some reason Ozanam wants to lock them out from the discussion when it comes to safe patient care. Ozanam considers Professional Practice and Safety a management right that has nothing to do with RN input.
Health and Safety
Ozanam wants to exclude RNs from discussions regarding Health and Safety concerns. NYSNA has proposed that Ozanam provide copies of all relevant workplace violence and harassment policies, and then simply consider suggestions and recommendations from RNs on these policies through the Staffing/Professional Practice Committee, and update RNs on any new relevant policies. This is not even binding, just a conversation on core issues- and Ozanam refuses it.
We also hope to establish a Safe Patient Handling Committee that allows for frontline registered nurse input on how to safely lift, transport, and turn residents. Avoiding patient falls and mobility injuries is critical at a nursing home which cares for the elderly and infirm. Ozanam claims they can formulate sufficient policy without RN input and has rejected the Safe Patient Handling Committee.
Fair Area Standards Contract
We want an area-standard contract on the economic level with our local peers- such as Parker Jewish Nursing Home, the Rutland Nursing Home, Terrence Cardinal Cooke Nursing Home, and other union long-term care facilities. All of these facilities have recently settled contracts with NYSNA that are fair, provide for safe patient care, and establish economic standards that retain the best RNs in the area.