FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 13, 2022
CONTACT: Kristi Barnes | firstname.lastname@example.org | 646-853-4489
New Contract to Include Retention of Excellent Healthcare Coverage in NYSNA Benefit Fund, Significant Wage Increases and Retention Bonuses, COVID-19 Health and Safety Demands and Expanded Staffing Committee
Plattsburgh, N.Y. — The NYSNA healthcare professionals at UVM-Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital (CVPH) reached a tentative agreement late last night on a contract. They were back at the bargaining table after authorizing a strike last week in hopes of reaching a fair contract for healthcare workers and patients.
Negotiations stretched until nearly midnight on Thursday, with NYSNA and CVPH finally reaching tentative agreements on several key outstanding issues. Next, NYSNA members will vote on Wednesday, May 18 on whether to ratify the new contract. NYSNA represents more than 700 members at CVPH.
On Thursday, more than 120 NYSNA members attended the bargaining session. Many spoke out to CVPH President and COO Michelle LeBeau, confronting her on key issues relating to unsafe staffing, attempts to move healthcare professionals to an inferior healthcare plan, and disrespectful and illegal behavior at the bargaining table. The last contract expired on January 7, 2021, and negotiations on a new contract had begun earlier, in August 2020.
NYSNA-CVPH Vice President Nicole Maille, RN, said: “This is a huge victory for the healthcare professionals at CVPH, who had worked hard to reach a fair contract in the face of intense employer resistance. Our members mobilized and demanded what we need to improve quality care in our community. We will soon have a contract with the wages and benefits to help hire and retain more staff to improve patient safety, and we will keep our excellent health benefits as we continue to work through an ongoing pandemic, putting our own health on the line.”
Kelly Gidman, RN, said: "Being able to keep the NYSNA Benefits plan health insurance was so important to me and my family. My youngest daughter was born with a serious health condition. Our excellent health insurance brought us our team of angels at Boston Children’s Hospital. We were faced with the most difficult decision of our lives. They saved her life and now she is a happy, healthy, thriving toddler. Now that we have a fair contract, my family and CVPH work family can breathe a sigh of relief. CVPH did the right thing for its employees and the community we care for."
“We had gotten to point in negotiations where the registered nurses, pharmacists, physical, occupational therapists and other healthcare professionals felt so undervalued and bullied that we were ready to do whatever it takes, including strike, to win a fair contract,” said Liz Craigmyle, RN, from Emergency and Ambulatory Surgery services. “We hope this contract marks the beginning of the administration’s efforts to stem the exodus of experienced nurses and healthcare professionals and help us to deliver the quality care our community deserves.”
NYSNA President Nancy Hagans, RN, CCRN, BSN, said: “CVPH healthcare professionals showed that when we fight, we win! As patient advocates, they kept their focus on what a fair contract would mean for their patients. They focused on how to improve safe staffing, how to keep staff and services in their community, and how to protect themselves so they can continue caring for their community. They demanded respect for their work as registered nurses and healthcare professionals, and they earned it. They deserve our respect and congratulations for what they accomplished!”
The New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA) represents more than 42,000 members in New York State. We are New York’s largest union and professional association for registered nurses. For more information, go to www.nysna.org