For Immediate Release
Contact: Randi Hoffman, 212.785.0157, ext. 118
Mark Genovese, 518.782.9400, ext. 353
New York – June 20, 2008 – After lengthy negotiations, the nurses of New York Presbyterian Hospital voted on and approved a three-year contract this evening. The 2,500 RNs are members of the New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA) and their previous contract expired in December 2007. Better nurse per patient staffing ratios, a retiree health plan, and salary raises that average from 12% to 14% were all negotiated into this contract.
The most groundbreaking gain in this contract is the creation of the Voluntary Employees Beneficiary Association (VEBA), which applies to retired RNs over 65 with 20 years of full-time employment. It is a separate account from which the nurses are reimbursed for medical expenses. This additional benefit supplements Medicare coverage and compliments the existing “bridge to Medicare plan” that covers nurses when they retire at 60, until they are eligible for Medicare.
“We are setting the pace with this historic agreement. It provides a model for other hospitals,” said Tom Darby, Labor Relations Representative for NYSNA.
“It is a monetary recognition of nurses who have served their patients for more than 20 years. It should encourage nurses to make New York Presbyterian Hospital their career choice.”
The improved staffing ratios in the contract will ensure that patients receive optimal nursing care. “The hospital has added nurses to a number of units,” said Roxanne Romney, RN, and NYSNA Nursing Representative. The nurse to patient ratio will now be one to four or five in medical-surgical units, one to seven in the ER, one to four or five couplets (a mother and a baby) in obstetrics and one to one or two in critical care.
The New York State Nurses Association is the voice for nursing in the Empire State. With more than 36,000 members, it is the state's largest union and professional association for registered nurses. It supports nurses and nursing practice through education, research, legislative advocacy, and collective bargaining.