For Immediate Release
Contact: Robin Wood, 518.782.9400, ext 223
BROOKLYN, August 26, 2011 – Breaking with all of the traditions of civil contract bargaining, the Brooklyn Hospital is threatening to cut off the health insurance benefits of its 500 registered nurses as a tactic to make them accept an unreasonable and unfair contract.
“Threatening the nurses’ healthcare benefits – threatening to deny them access to the very services they provide every day – is disgraceful,” said Roberta Murphy, associate director of the Economic and General Welfare program of the New York State Nurses Association, which represents the registered nurses at Brooklyn Hospital.
“Hospital management is legally required to maintain the status quo unless negotiations are at an impasse, and the Nurses Association remains willing to negotiate,” Murphy said.
The Nurses Association has filed unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NRLB) and is seeking an injunction to prevent the hospital from cutting off the nurses’ benefits, which will end as of 12:01 a.m. Sunday, August 28 unless the hospital signs an extender agreement.
The nurses are also seeking the community’s support, asking Brooklyn residents to call the hospital’s CEO and tell him the preserve the nurses’ healthcare benefits.
The Nurses Association and hospital management have been trying to negotiate a new contract since the nurses’ most recent one-year contract expired in December 2010. Though the difficult economic climate is complicating negotiations in many situations, the union does not feel that the hospital is bargaining in good faith.
“The Brooklyn Hospital is the only facility that we are dealing with that is demanding this level of givebacks and treating its nurses so unfairly,” Murphy said. “We are doing everything we can to negotiate with hospital management, but they have to understand nurses deserve and demand health insurance benefits.”
The New York State Nurses Association is the voice for nursing in the Empire State. With more than 37,000 members, it is New York’s largest professional association and union for registered nurses.The association represents registered nurses, and some all-professional bargaining units, in New York and New Jersey. It supports nurses and nursing practice through education, research, legislative advocacy, and collective bargaining.
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