NEW YORK NURSE: April 2008
by Mark Genovese
Neither wind, snow, nor sub-zero temperatures could stop NYSNA members this winter. RNs at a Manhattan Medical Center and a NOrth Country hospital demonstrated their perseverance and unity by conducting informational pickets in support of their contract negotiations.
Between 2005 and 2007, registered nurses were the only employee group at this West Village facility to put off contract improvements in order to help the St. Vincent’s network emerge from bankruptcy. More than 200 RNs and supporters from other unions and the community took part in informational picketing on a freezing Feb. 27 because, even though finances have since stabilized, management is still refusing to improve staffing, stop inappropriate floating, and improve recruitment by bringing RN wages to a competitive level.
More than 75% of this Ogdensburg bargaining unit marched in bone-chilling cold on Feb. 27 to protest proposed changes in their pension plan. Nurses said that management’s proposal would negate any real increase in wages and cause them to receive less in retirement income. An estimated 53% of the RNs have been with the medical center for 10 years or more and are relying solely on the medical center for their pensions.