For Immediate Release
Contact: Mark Genovese, 518.782.9400, ext. 353
MONTICELLO, Nov. 3, 2008 – Registered nurses employed by Sullivan County have had enough.
They’ve been working without a contract and county administrators have been doing little to complete negotiations for new one. This is why the RNs will conduct an informational picket from noon to 1:30 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 6, in front of the Sullivan County Government Center at 100 North Street in Monticello and the County Public Health Building at 50 Community Lane in Liberty.
The nurses are represented for collective bargaining by the New York State Nurses Association. They’ve been working without a contract since Dec. 31, 2007. Members of other local labor unions will also be picketing at the same time in support.
The 62 RNs work in Public Health Services, the Adult Care Center, the County Jail, and in Community Services. They help to prevent communicable diseases, staff immunization clinics, provide in-home services to infants, the elderly, and the disabled, and they help people recover from mental illness and addiction.
The county cut 12 RN positions from its 2008 budget, which was 20% of the current RN workforce. Now the remaining nurses feel they are being stretched to the limit with the additional patient responsibilities, paperwork, and non-nurse duties they are required to perform. The nurses travel throughout the county’s 997 square miles to provide healthcare services to people of all ages. The RNs are concerned that if they don’t have an adequate number of nurses, some people might be turned away when they come to the county for help.
“The nurses are trying to make the county a better place to work,” said Thomas Jennings, labor representative for the Nurses Association. “But such continued delays in negotiating a new contract sends the nurses a message that the county doesn’t care about them, And that’s bad for recruitment.”
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.