"the senior employees are usually not making much more than new grads because over the yrs pay for beginners goes up at a faster rate than do raises."
Thanks for pointing that out. I forget that happens in someplaces. I am so used to having contracts with across-the-board raises every yr plus automatically having a raise on each anniversary date of employment to reflect another year of RN experience, while our new grad rate stays constant throughout the life of the contract. With each contract it is increased but then so are the raises & other compensations increased at the same time. There is a conscious effort on our part to avoid exactly what you mention & having been unionized with my state nurses association for 18 of my 19 yrs as an RN, I sometimes just expect that everybody has it the way we do.
A major focus of negotiations is always on fairness, parity, & recognizing & retaining the experienced nurse, specifically to avoid the problem you describe. A NEW GRAD ADN starting salary is $55,188/yr. (Thats average in Brooklyn. Its higher in Manhattan). An experienced RN (ADN) who is a new hire has a base salary of $56,138/yr and she is paid a differential for each yr of outside experience as an RN elsewhere - up to 10 yrs experience credit ontop of the base salary.
So an RN with 10 yrs prior experience comes in as a new hire but at the 10 yr level, earning the same as any other nurse who has been at that facility for 10 yrs & has the same degree & works the same shift. All RNs receive an additional $1,000/yr differential on top of their base on each anniversary date of employment, an additional $2,100/yr for specialty certification, an additional $1,400/yr for BA/BS (not just BSN), an additional $1,700/yr for MA/MS (not just MSN), an additional $1,800/yr for Ph.D plus 100% tuition reimbursement for school for any of these degrees. Shift diff for eves/nights is $5,300/yr (a recruitment incentive), and charge nurses receive an additional $3,000/yr.