For Immediate Release
Contact: Randi Hoffman, 212.785.0157, ext. 118
Mark Genovese, 518.782.9400, ext. 353
Port Jefferson, July 8, 2008 – The New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA) RNs at St. Charles Hospital voted to approve a three-year contract on June 30. This follows a long negotiation period that began in March, and led to an informational picket to inform the community of the issues, when a stalemate was reached on June 17. Over 300 RNs work at St. Charles Hospital.
The new contract establishes nurse-patient ratios for each unit, a first at St. Charles. It also provides a retiree health benefit for nurses 60 and over with 20 years of service, to offer coverage until they are eligible for Medicare at 65. Another first are the new procedures that define what emergencies necessitate mandatory overtime for RNs, and also provides overtime pay for them when they do work the mandatory overtime.
“The nurse to patient staffing ratios stipulated in the contract will ensure quality care for patients,” said Michelle Hart, NYSNA Labor Representative. “The retiree health benefits will help St. Charles retain its most experienced nurses. It’s about rewarding RNs for their years of dedicated service. At the end of the day, we have a package that everyone is happy about.”
Effective April 2009, the retiree health benefits will also provide RNs between 65 and 70-years-old with a supplement of up to $600 per year that can be used for prescriptions and also for health insurance costs beyond what Medicare will cover. The contract also provides RNs with a tuition refund for 100% of costs up to a maximum of $3,250, and also pay increases of 3% per year.
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.