The countdown to victory was anticipated with great excitement and expectation. A strong campaign by NYSNA’s organizing team came to fruition at 9pm on December 10, when the vote counting commenced. Within a short time a strong majority vote was announced and with it an exclamation of “Victory!” by nurses and supporters.
The 266 RNs of Putnam Hospital Center in Carmel were the latest to join NYSNA, continuing a steady growth of members for the union. “We have many nurses who devoted many years of their nursing careers to Putnam Hospital,” said Colleen Leo, RN in the Intensive Care Unit. “We also have many newer, younger nurses who will hopefully do the same. As the Health Quest corporation continues to grow and expand its ability to deliver high quality patient care to the community, it’s only fair that nurses have the ability to unite together and negotiate in the decisions that will impact our future.”
Joining other RNs
Health Quest owns Northern Dutchess Hospital in Rhinebeck, NY, and Sharon Hospital in Sharon, CT. It also operates Vassar Brothers Medical Center in Poughkeepsie, where 800 NYSNA nurses work. Vassar Brothers members were active in the campaign to bring the Putnam Hospital RNs into the NYSNA fold.
“Seat at the table”
“We have a great group of nurses at Putnam Hospital, and it’s about time we had a voice in our own future,” said Mike Chitty, RN, Behavior Health Unit. “We work hard and deserve a seat at the table where decisions are made that will affect patient care, as well as how we are able to provide for our families.”
Among the issues central to this outstanding victory brought forward by the Putnam Hospital Center Nurses Organizing Committee were a greater say in patient care issues, fair health benefits and the chance to meet regional standards for nurse compensation.
Nominations for the Bargaining Committee are next. They remain open until January 5 to accommodate holiday plans.