More than 400 NYSNA members from Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital (CVPH) Medical Center took part in an energetic and spirited picket on a chilly March 21, to show management they will not be cheated out of long term benefits.
The most recent three-year contract for the 600 RNs, physician assistants, pharmacists, social workers, technicians, and therapists at the Plattsburgh facility expired on Jan. 1, 2007. The hospital wants a one-year agreement in order to provide “flexibility” to put proposals on the table regarding pensions. Bargaining unit members want the security of a longer agreement in order to lock in the terms and conditions of employment, including pension, wages, and use of sick time.
The professional staff also believes the medical center’s proposal for 3% wage increases won’t be sufficient to fill an estimated 50 vacant positions and reduce an extremely high level of turnover. In many nursing units, new graduates leave after gaining a year or two of experience to take jobs at Fletcher-Allen Medical Center in Burlington, Vt., or Alice Hyde Medical Center in Malone, where the wages are higher.
With more than 34,000 members, NYSNA is the oldest and largest state nurses’ association in the nation. It is an influential union for RNs, representing nurses in New York and New Jersey. Offering a wide range of services to its members, NYSNA fosters high standards of nursing education and practice and works to advance the profession through legislative activity. It is a constituent of the American Nurses Association and of the United American Nurses, an affiliate of the AFL-CIO.