For Immediate Release
Contact: Mark Genovese, 518.782.9400, ext. 353
MOUNT VERNON, May 22, 2012 – Helping Mount Vernon Hospital recruit and retain registered nurses is the key to keeping our community healthy. And the key to keeping good RNs at Mount Vernon is a fair contract.
This was the message that a contingent of Mount Vernon nurses gave to Mayor Ernest D. Davis during a meeting this morning at City Hall.
The hospital’s 95 RNs are members of the New York State Nurses Association. Their most recent four-year contract expired on Aug. 15, 2010. They’ve been trying to negotiate a new agreement since October 2010, but management continues to fight them every step of the way. Last night, more than 30 nurses lined up outside the facility during a meeting of the hospital’s board of directors in a silent, peaceful protest.
“This hospital is a key component of our city,” said Mount Vernon RN Dionisia Sanchez. “Studies have shown that hospitals with better staffing have better patient outcomes. So providing nurses with a fair and reasonable contract is a good investment for the hospital and for this community.”
The hospital’s corporate parent, the Sound Shore Health System, is demanding concessions from the RNs in their health insurance and pension plans. The hospital claims it doesn’t have the money to afford to continue the RNs’ current health coverage, saying it expects more than $1 million lost in Medicaid reimbursement. Yet it reported a surplus in 2010. “Comprehensive and affordable coverage is necessary because nurses are likely to suffer from health problems developed while on the job – such as neck and back injuries, high stress, and exposure to contagious disease,” said Mount Vernon RN Tracy McCook.
Management has offered a salary increase of only 2%, effective Oct. 1, 2013. The nurses, however, haven’t had a wage increase since July 2009 – despite skyrocketing increases in the cost of living. Many of them need help now. This is why they are trying to negotiate a wage increase for 2012. “As with any other working family, Mount Vernon RNs have mortgages, utility bills, and household expenses," said Mount Vernon RN Kathy Rosa. “These proposals would effectively reduce our take-home pay, so that many of us could no longer afford to work here.”
The nurses are available to discuss the issues upon request.
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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