Our focus on private bargaining got more intense on June 18 when members gathered in midtown Manhattan to meet and review priorities, approaches and schedules at 17 private hospitals. NYSNA’s Bargaining Platform was shared and discussed.
This important, concise document sets forth five key goals that serve as a framework for all our negotiations:
First, we call upon employers to recognize that our union is a fundamental voice for nurses, patients and the community. Nurses need to work together unimpeded by management in caring for patients and meeting responsibilities. We are professionals and demand a professional workplace. Our contracts need to guarantee, and improve upon, our ability to act as a union – with access by staff to members and leave for members to carry out union business. Regarding technology, we are for it, but not as a substitute for our professional judgment. Human interaction is essential to nursing.
Safe staffing and more
A second goal is safe staffing. No one is without a story about staffing shortfalls and their links to quality patient care and protecting nurses from injury and assault. Safe staffing needs to be spelled out in our contracts.
Equal access to quality care for all New Yorkers is a third priority we share. Every neighborhood should have quality healthcare resources for all. It is our belief that patients and communities should share a role in assessing needs and developing access plans for all.
“NYSNA is a democratic organization,” reads our fourth platform position. “We believe in open and transparent negotiations – open to our members, the community, and to all New Yorkers.”
Security at the bedside
Our fifth, and final, goal supports an experienced and stable RN workforce. Quality patient care comes with a contract that secures our place at the bedside. To keep experienced RNs there, employers need to raise our wages beyond the rate of inflation, guarantee the NYSNA pension plan, and provide NYSNA health insurance, or a better plan is offered by the employer, and restores healthcare concessions if made. We deserve a “follow the work” rule, giving us work opportunity in various healthcare settings. To recruit and retain RNs, we are seeking new, union-wide funds, paid by employers, with key supports and services, such as in training and education, child care and enhanced job security.
These are the terms that spell respect – for us, our families, our patients and communities.
Rehana Lowtan, RN, Brooklyn Hospital Center
This is a way for us to come together and make our contract better. Our staffing is horrible. They’re compromising patient care. With better staffing ratios, we would get to spend less time in front of a computer and more time with our patients.
Theresa McGorty, RN, Flushing Hospital Medical Center
We are here for the Queens community. In contract negotiations, we need our members involved. Participation is essential – if you want your ideas reflected in bargaining, you need to speak up. I think having training and brainstorming with leaders from different hospitals is crucial.
Orlando Rosario, RN, Maimonides Medical Center
The main issue is the overcrowding of patients and never having enough nurses to take care of them. I’m hearing nurses across the city bring up the same exact issues, and we have a much clearer picture of where we need to go.
Annella Lumsden, RN, Mt. Sinai Hospital
We’ve had a big problem with staff. We protested. We had change – more staff being hired. I think we can win anything as long as we stick together.
Kimberly Callender, RN, New York Presbyterian Hospital
We’re constantly working short of staff, which exacerbates patient issues. Even as we get new nurses, some leave. These are issues that go across the city. As nurses, we need to be together as one united front.