TODAY at 3 PM: NewYork-Presbyterian Nurses and Retirees Occupy Lobby to Defend Healthcare


NewYork-Presbyterian Nurses and Retirees Push Back on Hospital Doubling Retiree Healthcare Cost

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New York, NY– Less than a month after New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA) nurses ratified a new contract at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, dozens of nurses held a speak-out and sit-in to stop management’s attempts to double healthcare rates for retirees. Active and retired NYSNA members occupied the lobby of the hospital and demanded hospital administrators honor the healthcare premium rates that were confirmed before and after a new contract was ratified.
When NYSNA nurses and NewYork-Presbyterian management reached a contract agreement, the stated cost for monthly retiree healthcare premiums was $880.68. Management confirmed the rate before and after ratification. The reimbursement cost was negotiated in the contract so that individual retirees over 60 years of age with more than 20 years of experience would have premium-free healthcare coverage was based on this stated rate that non-union employees at NewYork-Presbyterian pay. However, on Friday, Jan. 20, management sent an annual healthcare enrollment form with nearly double the monthly cost— $1535.39.

In addition to doubling the premium, NewYork-Presbyterian management unilaterally changed the reimbursement process that was decided on from monthly to annually—imposing hardship on retired nurses. Management also suddenly excluded dental benefits from the healthcare package.
With healthcare enrollment closing at the end of January, active and retired member are mobilizing to demand NewYork-Presbyterian management take swift action to stop violating the new contract, course correct, and provide the quality healthcare that the retirees and their families deserve—and that the parties agreed on.

Many retired nurses have ended their nursing careers after saving lives during the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic. As nurses age, many are sick with long-term health issues, including long COVID, and often turn to their own hospitals for care.

Retired NewYork-Prebysterian nurse Stephen Halk, RN, said: “I was diagnosed with multiple myeloma just 6 months after retirement. I just received my second stem cell transplant and this February I should be getting my vaccines such as MMR to return to the immunity I had before the transplant. Because of NewYork-Presbyterian’s actions, I may be going into this without any insurance which is really disheartening and scary. I don’t know if I’ll be able to afford it and continue my treatment.”

The NYSNA negotiating committee at NewYork-Presbyterian released the following statement:
"The ink has not even dried on our new contract, and already the administration at NewYork-Presbyterian is violating our agreement by changing the agreed-upon healthcare rates for our retirees. It is completely unacceptable that they would double the rates that we meticulously confirmed with them before and after ratifying our contract. We demand that NewYork-Presbyterian respect our retirees, and allow retired NYSNA members to enroll at the original rate, be reimbursed monthly for healthcare expenses as planned, and include dental expenses. The only retirees who are eligible for this benefit have spent their lives at this hospital—they are at least 60 years old and have at least 20 years of service. We are outraged that retirees who have spent a lifetime sacrificing their bodies and health to NewYork-Presbyterian would be treated this way."

NYSNA nurses and retirees were joined by allies, including State Senator Robert Jackson and New York City Councilmember Carmen De La Rosa.

The New York State Nurses Association represents more than 42,000 members in New York State. We are New York’s largest union and professional association for registered nurses. NYSNA is an affiliate of National Nurses United, AFL-CIO, the country's largest and fastest-growing union and professional association of registered nurses, with more than 225,000 members nationwide.

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The New York State Nurses Association is a union of 42,000 frontline nurses united together for strength at work, our practice, safe staffing, and healthcare for all. We are New York's largest union and professional association for registered nurses.