NEW YORK NURSE: January/February 2009
by Mark Genovese
The 83 RNs of the Parker Jewish Institute for Health Care and Rehabilitation on Long Island now have retirement health benefits. A new three-year contract, approved Dec. 19, provides a yearly lump sum of $2,000 to all bargaining unit members who are age 62 with 20 years of service, to offset medical expenses until the member is eligible for Medicare, or reaches age 65, whichever comes first. The contract also retains the RNs’ NYSNA health insurance. Wage increases will be 3% each year, effective each November. An employment security clause will protect full- and part-time members from layoffs, except in the case of sustained bed vacancies. The agreement was reached before the previous contract expired and will run through Dec. 31, 2011.
The 300 RNs of the Interfaith Medical Center in Brooklyn ratified a three-year contract on Dec. 29. They will receive a 3% increase in base salary and a 3% increase in experience differential each year. Starting in 2010, the education differential will increase to $1,800 for full-time employees with bachelor’s degrees, $2,000 for members with masters’ degrees, and $2,100 for members with doctorates. Improvements in RN staffing guidelines call for higher nurse-per-patient ratios on many shifts and floors. Staffing ratios on all med/surg units will now be 1-to-6 around the clock.
RNs of the Copiague Union Free School District in Long Island ratified a five-year contract on Dec. 4, that will be retroactive to July 1, 2008, and run through June 30, 2013. Highlights of the agreement include a new 10-step pay scale for full-time nurses and four-step pay scale for part-timers, with individual increases ranging from 9.2% to 13.92% the first year. After that, subsequent annual salary increases are 3.25%, 3.25%, 3%, and 3%. Longevity payments for those with 11, 15, 20, and 25 years of service with the school district have also been increased. There are no givebacks in this agreement.
RNs at this Somers Point, N.J., facility approved a new contract on Dec. 19, 12 days prior to expiration of their most-recent agreement. The contract increases base salaries by a compounded 13.1% over three years and adds steps to the experience scale. It incorporates staffing guidelines that are enforceable through arbitration, strengthens the rights of laid off RNs, and improves nurses’ ability to accrue vacation. The contract puts a bargaining-unit-wide cap on shift cancellations and calls for labor/management meetings when such cancellations become excessive.
The 63 RNs of the St. Vincent’s Catholic Medical Center Home Health Agency, based in Greenwich Village, ratified a three-year contract on Dec. 19, that will be retroactive to July 1, 2008, and will run through June 30, 2011. The nurses negotiated annual salary increases of 3%, 3%, and 3.5%. On-site per diem rates will increase by 3%, 3%, and 3.5%.
Fee-for-service rates will increase by 3%, 3%, and 3.5%. High-tech visit rates have replaced an annual differential with a $10 per high-tech visit fee. The nurses will continue to be covered by the NYSNA benefit and pension funds. The post-retirement benefit is increasing $500 per year and will be $3,500 upon ratification; $4,000 in 2009; and $4,500 in 2010. The contract contains no concessions.
Nurses employed by this northeastern New York county will receive a 3% increase on their base wages in 2009, under a new two-year contract approved on Dec. 4. Although there will be an increase in the RNs’ costs for health insurance, the contract has a wage and health insurance reopener for 2010.
For the first time, nurses at this facility in Harris and Calicoon will have contract provision for core staffing levels. Approved on Dec. 28, the contract increases wages by 3.5% on both base and experience in 2009, and by 3% each year in 2010 and 2011. A step will be added to the top of the experience scale.