NEW YORK NURSE: June 2009
Their NYSNA contract having expired at midnight, more than 400 registered nurses from Vassar Brothers Medical Center took part in an enthusiastic informational picket on May 1. Negotiations for a new contract for the 800 member bargaining unit in Poughkeepsie began in November 2008, but management prematurely declared an impasse without considering most of the RNs’ proposals for improving staffing and working conditions. The management team then broke its promise to work toward covering retiree health insurance for the RNs. The nurses believe there’s been a change for the worse in labor-management relations. In February, the RNs filed an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board when management told the nurses they could not wear scrub tops embossed with the union’s logo at work. Then in April, medical center security denied NYSNA staff access for on-sites. These actions are intentional violations of the nurses’ rights and NYSNA believes they’re intended to shut down communication among the nurses.