Westchester Medical Center and NYSNA Reach a Five-Year Contract Agreement

On September 7, over 100 NYSNA members at Westchester Medical Center rallied in front of the hospital, calling attention to unsafe working conditions in the hospital as a result of understaffing. Nurses highlighted the need for a fair contract with fair and competitive wages, a real plan to recruit and retain nurses, and improved patient care through safe staffing.

NYSNA nurses were energized heading back to the bargaining table and excited to ratify a new contract less than two months later. Westchester Medical Center and the New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA) recently announced a new five-year collective bargaining agreement that will benefit more than 1,500 nurses at Westchester Medical Center, Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital, and the Behavioral Health Center. The agreement increases nurse wages, preserves existing healthcare and pension benefits, and offers a new family leave bank for nurses.

Essential Role of Nurses

“This agreement reflects the essential role of our nurses and their contributions to helping Westchester Medical Center deliver the best patient care, and it underscores our commitment to partnering with the union to prioritize the range of benefits that will help us continue to attract and retain the best nurses — particularly at a time when the healthcare industry is facing a labor shortage nationally,” said Phyllis Yezzo, Executive Vice President and Chief Nurse Executive for the Westchester Medical Center Health Network (WMCHealth).

“This new contract will raise nurses’ pay by over 27% in the next five years. This new pay structure and contract will make Westchester Medical Center a premier destination for union nurses in the metro New York City area — a significant boost for recruiting nurses and for retaining nurses facing stress and fatigue from delivering care in a COVID-19 world. When combined with our new nurse-to-patient staffing ratios, excellent work rules, and expanded leave benefits, we will be well prepared to care for patients and protect the public’s health for years to come” said NYSNA Executive Committee President David Long, RN, and NYSNA Treasurer Jayne Cammisa, RN, BSN.

New Bar

“A new bar has been set for nurse raises and work rules with this new contract. I couldn’t be prouder of our Westchester Medical Center public health defenders. They put their lives on the line to defend public health during COVID-19, and this contract respects the heroic efforts of WMC nurses and allows our nurses and communities to heal and turn a new leaf on public health in New York,” said NYSNA President Nancy Hagans, RN, CCRN, BSN.

The ratified agreement delivers substantial annual wage increases. Wages will increase September 1st of every year from 2022-2026 (this year’s increase will be received retroactively following the ratification date). Wages will increase for all NYSNA employees each year according to the following schedule: (8) percent in year one, six (6) percent year in two, five (5) percent in year three and four (4) percent in both years four and five.

The final contract also offers a variety of new incentives aimed at recruiting nurses. These include expanding salary increases for additional years of service — which will benefit the most experienced nurses and new nurses as they continue their careers at Westchester Medical Center — a new nurse practitioner salary schedule, salary increases across all individual nurse distinctions, such as education or certification level, or working non-traditional shifts, and a new family leave bank that will allow individual nurses additional leave options to accommodate life events such as the birth of a child or caring for a sick family member. Congratulations to the NYSNA Westchester Medical Center members for their persistent advocacy for nurses and patients that resulted in a great contract.

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