NEW YORK NURSE: June 2009
An historic new contract for the 1,144 RNs at this Brooklyn facility establishes a multi-employer NYSNA Retirement Health Benefit Fund (RHBF) that will provide post-retirement health benefits to eligible employees. “As other contracts are settled that also call for retirement health voluntary employee beneficiary associations, it’s anticipated they will agree to participate in the NYSNA RHBF that has been established in this contract,” explained NYSNA Labor Representative Tom Darby. “It will be similar to being in the NYSNA Pension Plan or NYSNA Health Fund. Now there will be NYSNA retirement health.” The plan is essentially an employer-funded defined contribution plan where the money is pooled and then distributed according to a formula that rewards those who are close to retirement and have met RHBF criteria. “Each bargaining unit can negotiate a rate that works for them,” Darby added. The two-year contract was approved on April 29.
On May 7, the 231 RNs of Terence Cardinal Cooke Health Care Center in East Harlem approved a new two-year contract. Base salaries will increase 2% on July 1, 2009 and another 2% in July 2010. Experience steps will increase 2% each year. Starting July 1, nurses who are responsible for resident assessment and medical data system processing will be paid at the “head nurse” rate. New shifts and schedules will be available for weekend assignments on a voluntary basis. A new severance package includes cash payment and health insurance, with the amount depending on the years of service as an RN with TCC. This victory was certainly hard-fought. Negotiations were hampered by management’s demand to reduce the number of RNs throughout the facility. In the contract the employer agrees that it will evaluate, on a case by case basis, implementing staffing of one NYSNA RN and two LPNs on skilled nursing units. The contract is retroactive to Jan. 1, 2009 and runs until Dec. 31, 2010.