Trouble at NYSNA?! Pension-Benefits-Staff Strike???

  1. 1
    Hey has anyone else heard about the internal problems happening at the New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA)? Now this is suppose to be a professional Union representing RN and other health professionals but they are not even following their own standards or so called beliefs.

    It seems that the NYSNA management cancelled all the terms and conditions of the Unionized Staff of Nurse Reps, labor reps and others at the association last March 2010 and they still have not settled the contract with their own staff! They can't even keep their own house in order!

    Now I hear that the Staff at NYSNA may be going out on strike themselves! That means that no one will be there adevocating for the union members at disciplines and at the negotiating table!! Meanwhile they keep sending out emails from Tina Gerardi and Lorraine Seidel speaking of Wisconsin and how the Governor there is a Union Busting! They need to look in the mirror!

    I'm glad that I am not in the NYSNA pension or NYSNA Health benefits as that is another whole disaster story with the pension having gone to arbitration and winding up with an very reduced alternate PENSION plan that hospitals are looking at to the fact that now the NYSNA Health benefits are also going to arbitration and who knows what changes will happen to that.

    All NYSNA members need to start calling the NYSNA HEadquarters and Board of Directtors and tell them to get their house in order now and keep the NYSNA Staff where they are suppose to be advocating for us! Not out on stike.

    lindarn likes this.
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  4. 11 Comments so far...

  5. 4
    I have absolutely no knowledge of the NYSNA situation one way or the other, since I'm on the other side of the country. So this comment should not be construed as agreeing or disagreeing with what you say. I'll only say that managing a union staff is a really tough balancing act. On the one hand, "hey, we're a union - we advocate for workers, we want workers to have the best of everything". How can you not want the same for your own staff? On the other hand, you're also managing and supervising a staff who need to get a job done and you are spending your members' dues and have a responsibility to be good stewards of that money and not squander it. Those two imperatives run in opposite directions. Our union is lucky enough to have an executive director who does an amazing job of getting that balance right most of the time. And has built a staff who are both amazingly effective and incredibly loyal and hard-working. But she's special and there aren't very many like her. Some unions oppress their staffs terribly in violation of what they claim to believe in. Others try to be pals with the staff and let them get away with murder - see unions with big organizing staffs and organizing budgets who never accomplish any organizing. So your values as a union leader and what you have to do to be an effective manager can be in constant conflict. Sort of like the conflict that the best nurse managers have, when their values as a nurse conflict with what they need to do as a manager.
    Julia RN, herring_RN, RN4MERCY, and 1 other like this.
  6. 4
    Do you think the alleged problems are about wages, hours, and working conditions? Or a lack of alignment of vision and values between the NYSNA staff and the executive director? Everyone should be entitled to due process and a fair hearing rather than trial by bloggers. I appreciate Chico's measured and balanced perspective.
    lindarn, Julia RN, laborer, and 1 other like this.
  7. 1
    I hear what Chico is saying.

    It is my understanding that the big problem is that the staff had a contract that addressed working conditions and that the management of NYSNA basically nullified that and imposed new terms and conditions without bargaining! This stripped away the experience steps, defined work hours, seniority and the grievance process! Plus some other previously bargained terms and conditions.

    Isn't collective bargaining the core of what unions are all about? I would be really pi*&(D if my management decided that the entire contract I work under was now past tense and put new terms and conditions in place without bargaining!!

    This whole situation and issue really could affect, and it may already has, all the NYSNA nurses that have NYSNA contracts. I believe many are being re-negotiated now and this situation really goes to credibility of the leadership.
    lindarn likes this.
  8. 2
    So, did the contract between the union's management and the staff workers' union expire, perhaps? As far as collective bargaining, I'm wondering whether or not negotiations had proceeded in good faith and they were at a point of impasse. Upon expiration of a collective bargaining agreement, an employer is required by the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”) to “meet at reasonable times and to confer in good faith” with the bargaining representative for its employees “with respect to wages, hours, and other terms and conditions of employment.” This is known as an employer’s duty to bargain. A violation of an employer’s duty to bargain may result in an unfair labor practice charge being filed at the NLRB.

    Before an employer actually implements its pre-impasse proposals, it must be sure that an impasse does indeed exist. An impasse is defined in the law as the point at which further discussions would be futile. Once a genuine impasse has been reached, the duty to bargain becomes dormant, but is not terminated. The employer need not meet with the union after impasse is reached if the union continues to offer the same proposals which led to the impasse. While negotiations are deadlocked at impasse, unilateral changes are lawful provided the collective bargaining agreement at issue has expired and the unilateral changes are reasonably encompassed by the employer’s pre-impasse proposals.

    Impasse, however, is only a temporary deadlock, and exists until a change in circumstances indicates that an agreement may be possible. Impasse may be broken through either a change in mind or the application of economic force (i.e., a strike). Implementation after impasse is viewed by the NLRB as a method of breaking impasse, and the parties remain obligated to attempt to negotiate an agreement in good faith. The implementation after impasse strategy is not intended to be used to act unilaterally and destroy the collective bargaining process.

    Therefore, what you've described in your original post may be part of the lawful process; it doesn't necessarily mean there is anything wrong that warrants disparagement of the union's management. I agree that may be a matter of opinion, and in the interests of full disclosure, I'm not a NYSNA member.
    Julia RN and laborer like this.
  9. 2
    Searched on the NLRB and there's a link to the case: http://www.nlrb.gov/case/03-CA-027723

    It seems the staff's union filed a Unfair Labor Practice charge against nysna. A judge issued a decision in favor of nysna for the larger part of the complaint but found nysna did commit a unfair labor practice (over cell phone use- it looks like). The staff's union- USW- filed an appeal and it looks like general counsel for the NLRB agrees with them that the judge was wrong in finding in favor of nysna on the larger part of the complaint- that nysna did commit a ULP when it threw out the staff's contract during an organizing campaign. Don't know what the next step in the process is but maybe if this gets settled a strike can be averted??
    Johnny Union RN and laborer like this.
  10. 1
    Julia RN


    WOW! Thanks for finding out this other information about what is going on there at NYSNA. I hope you are right and a strike of the staff can be averted because with the state budget cuts and all the other issues, the members really need the staff there and not out on the street.

    I am going to bookmark the link you gave o the NLRB Case, http://www.nlrb.gov/case/03-CA-027723 , so I can check for any updates.

    Thanks again Julia!

    Julia RN likes this.
  11. 0
    Looking at it objectively- it is an interesting case.
    The staff's union, USW, contends that the employer, NYSNA, used the interval of time when the workers were trying to get their union recognized, to change their terms and conditions. The employer refusal voluntary recognition but entered into a quick mail ballot election with no notable anti-union campaign other than these changes. USW refers to this as a "novel type of interference" in their exceptions to the decision.
    Makes sense that an employer that is also a union would not want to engage in a typical anti-union campaign- so perhaps they found another way...
    A hearing at the NLRB seems to be the next step that will determine if the rights of these workers were violated.
    Something all unionists should pay attention to -IMO- if the facts are accurate, I wouldn't want an employer to be able to lawfully do this.
  12. 1
    i'm a member of nysna. all the information i've received form nysna and the usw has been, in my opinion, dishonest propaganda. i did manage to find some outside information about the strike:


    nurses and negotiators that represent unionized nurses plan to strike at midnight friday because of changes to their work conditions. the irony, they say, is that their employer is a union that advocates for worker rights."it's surreal," said kathleen korman, a nurse representative from guilderland who is part of the united steelworkers union within the new york state nurses association. about 65 nurses, lawyers and professional staff at the association are represented by the unit.
    "we fight all the time against employers who make unilateral changes to working conditions," korman said. "nysna directs us to fight them and we do it, but i guess (nysna) can do it."
    latham-based nysna represents about 37,000 nurses and health professionals in new york. a nysna spokeswoman said the association has offered a fair and fiscally responsible contract and hopes to have a resolution soon.
    "we really believe that we can arrive at a mutually acceptable contract and avoid this strike entirely," said robin wood, director of communications for nysna.
    the union that represented the professional unit was dissolved in march 2010, but days before the union's end, leaders of the professional staff went to nysna and asked the administration to voluntarily recognize the staff's new union. nysna administration refused the request, saying several unions were trying to organize the staff, and advised them to choose a union by vote.
    two months later, the staff voted 64 to 1 to join the united steelworkers union.
    in the meantime, nysna imposed new working conditions that required the staff to carry blackberry mobile devices, changed rules for compensatory time and restricted vacation time accrual. wood said the changes brought the professional staff in line with nonunion professional employees at nysna and other professionals within the united steelworkers union.
    previously, the professional staff had a 35-hour work week and received compensatory time if they worked excessive hours, but nysna's new conditions removed the definition of a work week and proposed "when one has worked excessive hours with justification to the associate director and with his or her approval, an occasional (comp) day would be granted."
    victoria longo, co-chair of the professional staff's union, said nysna would never let nurses agree to such a contract. "the very things we are asking for are the very things we get for our members," longo said.
    a mediator has called for the parties to negotiate saturday.
    lindarn likes this.
  13. 1
    Here is an email I sent to NYSNA:

    Dear NYSNA Leadership,

    A highly unprofessional flyer was posted on the walls of my hospital
    with photographs of NYSNA executives attacking them on a personal
    level. This is equivalent to something an adolescent might do. It
    explained nothing about the actual grievance, and only served to
    convince me that these are not people I would want representing me.

    Then I received two emails from NYSNA's CEO. These were more
    sophisticated than the flyers posted by the USW. The first email
    painted a portrait of a fair and equitable management offering a
    wonderful contract to a bullying staff. Management seemed to have no
    idea why the USW would want to strike. It seemed to claim that since
    the contract being offered was so fantastic, the only logical reason
    for a strike was to get rid of the NYSNA management. However, the
    second email admitted that there were in fact some changes to the
    contract.

    Since neither side has helpful, I've had to get information from other
    sources. Most of my co-workers had no idea any of this was going on,
    even yesterday, the day before the strike. It just goes to show you
    how little involvement there is in union matters on the part of the
    staff. Perhaps if NYSNA management and employees spent more time
    organizing and less time fighting amongst themselves, my co-workers
    would have some idea of what is going on.

    The general consensus among my co-workers is that they 1) really don't
    care about the whole situation, 2) think you all are wasting our money
    3) would like to fire all of you. (That is, they would like to fire
    BOTH the NYSNA employees and the NYSNA management.)

    You are now supposed to be negotiating a contract for us, the nurses
    who pay your salary. Instead you are fighting with each other. Oh, how
    Continuum management must be laughing at us. You have made us into a
    joke.

    Sincerely,

    (name withheld for privacy)
    lindarn likes this.


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