For Immediate Release
Contact: Mark Genovese, 518.782.9400, ext. 353
KINGSTON, Oct. 31, 2008 – Registered nurses at Benedictine Hospital may finally get an answer next week.
On Sept. 18, the 200 RNs voted on designating the New York State Nurses Association as their collective-bargaining representative. But their votes were impounded due to challenge by hospital management.
Today National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in Washington, DC, denied management’s challenge, which clears the way for the votes to be counted.
Benedictine nurses are seeking to join the Nurses Association because they want a unified voice to help them address workplace issues such as insufficient nurse staffing, non-competitive salaries, and lack of incentives to retain experienced nurses.
In August, a regional NLRB office granted the RNs the right to an election, but hospital management appealed the decision to the national board in Washington, contending the potential bargaining unit should include RNs from Kingston Hospital, a separate employer. The board in Washington had not ruled on management’s appeal by the Sept. 18 election, which meant the ballots had to be impounded.
The nurses' ballots may be counted as early as next week. The place and time are currently being determined.
In the meantime, the nurses have been moving ahead with the process of establishing their bargaining unit in anticipation of a successful outcome. They will draw up a set of rules for the bargaining unit, elect officers, form committees, and develop proposals for a first contract.
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.