NYSNA nurses win again in North Country

Carmen Cassavaugh, RN and Elizabethtown Community Hospital LBU Chair, cast her ratification vote on October 31.

Yet another major victory in North Country this October for NYSNA at Elizabethtown Community Hospital and Interlakes (Moses-Ludington), where our unstoppable NYSNA nurses unanimously ratified a new collective bargaining agreement. The win-win agreement sets the terms of the merger between the two hospitals favorably for our nurses and raises the bar for bargaining at other North Country hospitals.

The agreement includes groundbreaking staffing language with enforceable staffing grid guidelines and a new committee structure. It contains no takeaways. Annual across-the-board increases of three (3) percent plus a two (2) percent parity adjustment add up to an 11 percent total increase over the contract’s three-year term. Of upmost importance, after the merger, Interlakes nurses will receive the superior wages and benefits of the Elizabethtown contract. Kelly Stevens, an RN at Elizabethtown, is very pleased with the results; “I never believed that we would win the wages and staffing language that we did.”

Big gains

When combined with step increases and other wage gains, many Elizabethtown nurses will see a 20 percent pay increase by the end of the agreement. The change will be even more dramatic for Interlakes nurses, who will see a 36 percent increase during the next three years. “I’m so glad to be a part of the Elizabethtown contract and that those nurses fought so hard to make our acquisition a good thing for the Moses-Luddington nurses,” said Julie Cruickshank, RN.

This critical victory sets the stage for North Country NYSNA in upcoming negotiations with Adirondack, Canton-Potsdam, and Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital, where safe staffing, wage parity, affordable healthcare for caregivers, retirement with dignity, and employment and income security are all at stake.

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