NEW YORK NURSE: March 2011
by Mark Genovese
An agreement is indeed an agreement.
This is what members of the Sullivan County Legislature decided by voting on Feb. 4 to restore scheduled raises and longevity pay for county employees – including RNs represented by NYSNA.
NYSNA members were among the 60 Sullivan County employees to protest the proposed county budget cuts during a two-hour rally just prior to the legislative session. Many nurses came straight from work to the rally, which was held outside the county office building in Monticello. LBU Chair Martha Wilcox and Lise Kennedy, a public health nurse, spoke at the rally, emphasizing the toll the proposed cuts would take on the lives and health of county residents.
Under the proposal by the county executive, county employee wages would have been frozen. NYSNA nurses and their colleagues from the county’s other employee unions convinced legislators to honor its labor contracts. But in order to come up with the savings to balance the budget, the legislature voted to eliminate 48 positions, 31 of which were vacant. County officials indicated more layoffs may be necessary in the future.