More than 150 Oneida Healthcare RNs and supporters took part in informational picketing on a hot July 15 to fight administration’s demand that they give up defined-benefit pension coverage for new hires in their new contract. The RNs were concerned that this would be first step toward phasing out the plan entirely. The center has claimed its contract offer is “competitive.” But NYSNA said the proposal will be financially damaging to the RNs.
The nurses are also upset over remarks made a few weeks earlier by a member of the hospital’s board of directors, who coldly told the nurses: “Defined benefit pensions are a thing of the past. You just need to get over it.” The offhand remark gave the nurses stunning insight into the attitude of the center’s decision makers and is encouraging the RNs to step up their efforts, including extensive advertising in local media.
“The nurses are trying to find a middle-ground during negotiations, but administration isn’t,” said Vickie Longo, RN, Nurses Association nursing representative. “We work hard for you, your families, our community,” wrote one Oneida RN in an eloquent letter to the local newspaper, “We deserve to be treated fairly by administration.”
Below are a selection of images from the informational picket held July 15. Click on the individual thumbnails to view a larger image.