For Immediate Release
Contact: Mark Genovese, 518.782.9400, ext. 353
SOMERS POINT, NJ, June 1, 2012 – Registered nurses at Shore Medical Center feel like management is pushing them into a corner. The RNs are seeking a fair contract that will allow the hospital to recruit and retain nurses. But hospital officials continue to demand unreasonable givebacks during contract negotiations that would, instead, drive nurses away.
Saying they will not be intimidated, the RNs plan to conduct an informational picket from 1 to 3 p.m. on Saturday, June 9, in front of the hospital on Shore Road in Somers Point, between East New York and Brighton avenues.
Management is insisting on increasing the amount the nurses would have to pay toward their health insurance, yet it’s offering wage increases that are inadequate. This means that RNs will end up taking home less each week to support their families. RNs are especially angry because the management negotiation team deliberately left negotiations early during the most recent negotiation session on May 22.
Management’s latest health benefits proposal would increase contributions for full-time RNs by 12% this year, 16% next year, and 17% in 2014. For part-timers, increases would be 18% for this year, 24% next year, and 25.5% in 2014. The hospital wants to be able to increase the RNs’ co-pays any time it wants – co-pays can easily reach $50 to $75, or higher. The hospital has already increased the employee contribution on non-union hospital employees to $1,000 for out-patient procedures not performed at Shore.
“Such drastic cuts will financially devastate many of us,” said Joanne Venice, RN, local bargaining unit president. “We won’t be able to afford to work at Shore any longer.” Such increased turnover could lead to problems for the hospital, because research has shown that hospitals that are understaffed have a greater chance of complications in patient care and a lower quality of patient outcomes.
The nurses re-affirmed their commitment to each other as strong union members, overwhelmingly voting on May 2 to stay with the Nurses Association.
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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