NEW YORK NURSE: January-February 2011
by Mark Genovese
A dedicated group of Nistel, Inc. RNs, who are negotiating their first contract, protested outside of Kingston Hospital on a chilly late-December day to demonstrate how cold relations with management had become.
Nistel, Inc. is a for-profit “leasing” company, employing 50 registered nurses who work at Benedictine and Kingston hospitals and Foxhall Ambulatory Surgery Center. It was formed by management of Benedictine and Kingston hospitals shortly after the Benedictine RNs filed for an election in 2008. The Nistel RNs were not deterred and elected NYSNA their representative in April 2009.
The RNs are seeking a fair and uniform salary structure and reasonable benefits to allow Nistel to be competitive with other health care employers in the Hudson Valley. But Nistel management has withheld information it was legally obligated to provide, cancelled negotiating sessions at the last minute, walked out of contract talks after refusing to discuss topics on the table, and attempted to make unilateral changes in the agency’s on-call policy.
NYSNA has filed a series of unfair labor practice charges against Nistel because the agency cannot unilaterally make changes in the terms and conditions of employment. It must bargain all changes with the union.
Just a year ago, NYSNA won a back-pay settlement award of more than $6,000 for five members employed by Nistel as a result of an unfair labor practice charge contesting the employer’s unilateral change to its on-call policy.