NEW YORK NURSE: May 2010
by Mark Genovese
Members of NYSNA’s Congress of Bargaining Unit Leaders and Delegate Assembly expressed their outrage over the upcoming closing of St. Vincent’s Hospital, during their April meetings at NYSNA’s Latham office.
“Fiscal accountability was severely lacking at St. Vincent’s,” said Susan Casadone, president of the Congress in her initial remarks. “Where were the watchdogs of New York State and the federal government? It seems no one’s been held accountable.” Despite layoffs by the hundreds and the interruption of care to thousands, “administrators are walking away unscathed.”
Congress members from St. Vincent’s spoke about the proud history of the facility and then of its recent series of poor financial decisions after its operation was assumed by corporate interests – such as money spent on consultants who brought about poor results and contracts for computer systems that haven’t been used. “Our pockets were being picked,” they said, cautioning RNs from other bargaining units to be vigilant during this difficult economy and culture of corporate misconduct: “Watch out, because this could also happen to you.”
The St. Vincent’s representative thanked NYSNA for its help in fighting the closing and in working to help the RNs find jobs elsewhere.
Both meetings featured open forums in which representatives could share concerns faced by bargaining unit members in their areas. For example, during the Delegate Assembly’s, “zoning in” session, representatives discussed successes in arbitration, challenges in negotiating their contracts, issues in gaining access to members in their facilities, restructuring programs and understaffing, overtime, and the use of temporary staff.
Named to fill a vacancy in Zone 9, which covers bargaining units in Manhattan and the Bronx, was Kittie McGee, president of the LBU at Harlem Hospital Center. McGee’s term will run through August 2013. McGee was the most recent recipient of the Delegate Assembly award for her leadership in building a successful bargaining unit at the facility.