For Immediate Release
Contact: Mark Genovese, 518.782.9400, ext. 353
Update: Progress Monday, Oct. 27 in St. Elizabeth contract talks - Significant progress was made in contract talks Monday between NYSNA and management at St. Elizabeth Medical Center. At the direction of the federal mediator, the parties will reconvene on Wednesday, Oct. 28. The federal mediator has directed the parties to refrain from releasing any details at this point.
UTICA, Oct. 23, 2009 — For five months, registered nurses at St. Elizabeth Medical Center have made a sincere effort to negotiate a fair contract. Medical center management, however, hasn’t.
The nurses’ negotiating team has made every possible effort, including the use of a federal mediator, to reach an amicable settlement. Left with no other choice, the RNs voted overwhelmingly this afternoon to authorize a strike.
The 550 RNs are represented by the New York State Nurses Association. Their most recent three-year contract expired on June 30.
Under federal labor law, a strike cannot start until 10 days after the nurses’ negotiating committee serves the hospital with a notice of intent. This advance notice has not yet been served. One more negotiation session has been scheduled for Monday.
“Since the first day of negotiations, the medical center refused to listen to its nurses,” said Vickie Longo, RN, Nurses Association representative. “During this time St. Elizabeth’s nurses have remained loyal, despite the medical center’s less-than-competitive wage scale.”
“Yet management continues to demand cuts that will force experienced nurses away from St. Elizabeth’s and make it very difficult to attract qualified RNs – which are in high demand during this nursing shortage,” Longo added. “St. E’s nurses are taking this step because they want to make sure that highly qualified nurses will remain here to care for our community – now and in the future.”
The New York State Nurses Association is the voice for nursing in the Empire State. With more than 37,000 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.