It’s called a perfect storm. At no point in NYSNA’s history has the union been engaged in bargaining on behalf of so many members at so many hospitals and facilities at one time.
NYSNA members are ready! From the public systems in NYC (see pages 7-10) and Buffalo, in upstate and downstate private hospitals, and at Shore Medical Center in NJ, NYSNA members are full throttle in their efforts to bargain good contracts for themselves, patients and the thousands of communities served.
Contract Action Teams (CATs) have been established at the facilities in all contract negotiations with NYSNA members. CATs conduct surveys, gather and deliver petition signatures, carry out roving sessions, make CAT conference calls, and organize sticker days and CAT walks. They are everywhere!
Over the last months, bargaining has been underway at Putnam Hospital and Albany Medical Center, two hospitals organized and having joined the union, bringing the total number of members to over 42,000. Take that Janus!
Putnam and Albany Med are not alone. Hudson Valley Hospital, a facility in the NewYork-Presbyterian system, voted to join NYSNA as well, and that contract negotiation is underway. St. Vincent’s Hospital in Harrison is at the bargaining table at this time, as well.
Also upstate, 200 members at Canton-Potsdam Hospital are in bargaining. They are pushing back against a giveback on health insurance.
Western New York
At Erie County Medical Center with 1,100 NYSNA members, bargaining commenced on December 27 and continues in February. Staffing leads the RN agenda. It is first time for open bargaining at a facility that serves the entire Western New York area and is the sole Level One Trauma Center in the region. Adjacent to ECMC is Terrace View Long Term Care where NYSNA nurses are also in bargaining.
Brooklyn and Queens at the table
In Brooklyn, bargaining committees are at work on their deals. In the borough’s the largest hospital, the Maimonides Medical Center, 1,700 members are on the job and are rejecting takeaways on economics and work rules. Staffing needs to be addressed, says Maimonides RN and Board Member Nancy Hagans, across the board. They are seeking a grid with ratios and good compliance, and floating language.
Interfaith Medical Center and Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center are in bargaining in their capacities in the One Brooklyn Health system. At Wyckoff Heights Medical Center in Brooklyn, staffing and floating are issues on the short list. Brooklyn Hospital Center is at the table, too, bargaining on a host of issues, including broader staff development and nursing education and a demand that workplace violence be addressed with staff input. As with all facilities in bargaining, staffing is key. At Brooklyn Hospital, the emergency department, med-surg and telemetry units are the focus of staffing demands.
In Queens, members at Flushing Hospital are at the table. Here, the LPN model and acute model are antiquated and unsafe. Wages must be addressed, say nurses. They have yet to receive an appropriate number of bargaining dates. NYSNA will fight for the respect Flushing nurses deserve!
Bronx-Lebanon Hospital (BronxCare) bargaining is also underway—a facility providing care in the South Bronx to an underserved population that includes many immigrants. Workplace safety is on the agenda, as memories of a shooting in the hospital remain fresh.
RUMC and Shore Medical Center
On Staten Island, Richmond University Medical Center, 500 members are in bargaining with staffing atop the demands along with retiree health.
In Somers Point, New Jersey, Shore Executive Committee at Shore Medical Center has made progress at the table with TAs signed and nine sessions under their belt. They are fighting off give-backs in MLOA, Pension and Time off. The nurses’ message to management is loud and clear: “No Give-Backs Ever!”
The “Alliance” bargaining
The NYC Hospital Alliance is in full throttle negotiations, too, with 10,000 members bargaining for their contracts. These include: Mount Sinai’s three hospitals—Mt. Sinai, Mt. Sinai West, Mt. Sinai St. Luke’s, NewYork-Presbyterian and Montefiore Medical Center. They are bargaining at the same table, sharing global proposals and negotiating local proposals separately.
The Alliance Bargaining Contract Proposals reflect a shared agenda for the nurses at these hospitals and an outline for patient care all members would appreciate. Some elements of the proposed contract include: a three-year deal, with an obligation to begin negotiations at least three months before the date of expiration; staffing ratios in contract, to be maintained at all times.
A joint labor-management staffing committee is also a contract demand. It would have authority to improve ratios for individual units as conditions change.
To improve transparency, the committee would publish a list of units where staffing is insufficient more than once a month. This list would be posted on each unit and would include agency nurses and the positions they are covering. And float pools in all specialties (for example, med-surg, critical care, pediatrics), in addition to existing float pools are among demands. Note that the number of nurses assigned to each float pool would be a local bargaining issue.
"There are serious staffing issues at Kingsbrook. All members want them addressed and we recognize that this is the time to come together.”
- Feyoneisha McGrath, RN, Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center
"We have a strong sense of duty to our patients— the fight is about our patients and delivering quality care. When we say, ‘Safe staffing ratios save lives,’ we mean it. Nurses are ready to rise up for this cause!
- Anthony Ciampa, RN, NYSNA First Vice President, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital
“Management has refused to give us enough dates. This is nothing less than disrespect of nurses. We are prepared and ready to negotiate.”
- Nancy Hagans, RN and NYSNA Board Member, Maimonides Medical Center
“We’ve been rounding a lot, having one-on-one with nurses. They consistently raise the staffing issue. We’re filing POAs and going to management. Nurses are attending bargaining sessions. Our momentum is building."
-Rehana Lowtan, RN, Brooklyn Hospital
Increase Staffing: 12 shifts every 4 weeks without reduction of benefits and compensation.
The Expansion of On-Call Teams
Protections for Workplace Violence
Safeguards for Health and Safety
Provide Safe Patient Handling and Movement (SPHM) Technology
Missed Breaks and Meals
Per Diems, Agency, and Traveler Nurses
No Strike Clause (that allows for informational pickets and demonstrations)
Tuition Reimbursement and Support for Nurse Education
Advanced Practice Nurse Issues
Establish a Fund to Pay for Childcare or Eldercare Expenses
Improve Paid Family Leave
Sick Leave Time Donation