For Immediate Release
Contact: Mark Genovese, 518.782.9400, ext. 353
BRONX, April 6, 2009 – Nearly 1,000 NYSNA members from Montefiore Medical Center conducted an informational picket in the driving rain on Monday, April 6, 2009, in protest over their contract talks.
The RNs believe the community deserves shorter wait times for care in the Emergency Room. Appropriate room accommodations should be provided for patients; not stretchers in the hallway. Nurses say they need a defined limit as to how many patients can be cared for safely. They say they cannot properly advocate for patients when they are assigned to areas (such as intensive care) for which they lack adequate training. They say Montefiore needs a stable RN workforce at the patient’s bedside.
The RNs have been trying to address these issues in contract negotiations since last fall, and in ongoing meetings with management over the past several years. Yet Montefiore management has not made a firm commitment to improve nurse-to-patient ratios, nor to cease sending nurses to unfamiliar areas. Instead it seems to be proposing cuts that will drive experienced RNs toward retirement and deter its ability to recruit.
The most recent four-year contract for the 2,500 RNs expired Jan. 15. After 24 negotiation sessions since last fall, the nurses say management has told nurses that it wants a “cost neutral” contract. This means the RNs would have to fund any cost-of-living increases by paying more for their benefits or somehow "subsidize" increased staffing numbers.
Montefiore nurses dedicate their lives to caring for our community and believe they should be treated with dignity by management. Instead, management is proposing cuts that will cause many RNs to consider early retirement, further exacerbating a serious nursing shortage. Nurses believe their patients need adequate numbers of highly trained professionals to provide care with compassion and skill.
The next session is scheduled for Tuesday, April 7.
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.