For Immediate Release
Contact: Mark Genovese, 518.782.9400, ext. 353
FLUSHING, Jan. 23, 2012 – Registered nurses at Flushing Hospital will strike at 7:15 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 7.
A federally required notice 10-day notice of intent to strike was filed this evening with the National Labor Relations Board, hospital management, and local police. The 420 RNs are represented by the New York State Nurses Association. Their most-recent contract expired on Dec. 31, 2011.
The RNs voted overwhelmingly Friday to authorize a strike, believing management has left them with no other choice. The RNs are angered that management has been trying to intimidate them by stopping payments to their health and pension plans.
In December, hospital management refused to sign interim agreements to guarantee continuation of health and pension coverage for six months after contract expiration while the parties continue to negotiate. Health benefits will continue for 90 days after expiration whether the interim agreement is signed or not. But their pension plan ended on Jan. 1, 2012.
The nurses feel that more than a year of contract negotiations with the hospital has produced no progress, as management continues to refuse to address the nurses’ concerns about recruitment, retention, and staffing.
“We’re not asking for anything out of the ordinary,” said Theresa McGorty, RN, co-chairperson of the bargaining unit.
“We just need to be able to recruit and retain professional registered nurses by keeping us in line with other facilities,” McGorty said, adding that management negotiators have been insulting, degrading, and disrespectful of the hospital’s RNs. “Having no benefits and no pension after 35 years of service is like a slap in the face.”
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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