Report: September 2002
New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA)
Nations largest city bargaining unit of RNs -
Nurses and NYC Reach Tentative Agreement on New Contract
New York City, October 4, 2002 - On October 3, the 7,000 registered nurses who work for New York City's Health and Hospital Corporation reached a tentative agreement on a new 27-month contract. The nurses are represented by the New York State Nurses Association and work at the City's 11 acute care hospitals, 4 long-term care facilities, 6 diagnostic and treatment centers, and the mayoral agencies. A ratification vote will take place on October 22. Further details of the contract will be released at upon ratification.
Victory for the RNs
The agreement represents a significant victory for the RNs who insisted that the city acknowledge in writing that the criteria and procedures for awarding "merit pay" were mandatory subjects of collective bargaining. New York City's demand for merit pay raises only has been a significant issue in its negotiations with all the City unions.
Given the RN's key role as patient advocate, the nurses were determined that these funds, supposedly awarded for outstanding performance, NOT be based on favoritism or used as a tool to silence nurses who speak up about poor patient care. Although their demand was bolstered by a ruling this summer from the NYC Office of Collective Bargaining, which affirmed that guidelines and procedures for implementing merit increases were a mandatory subject of bargaining, the struggle over this issue seriously delayed negotiations.
The contract runs retroactive from October 1, 2000 to December 31, 2002. Negotiations for a successor agreement will begin early next year.
Improved Wages and Working Conditions
Among the improvements in this agreement are wage increases of 8.4%, with the final raise effective October 1, 2002, three months earlier than that in other city contracts.
To address RNs' concern about inadequate staffing, the contract requires that management provide a written response whenever a nurse submits a protest-of assignment form. Protest of assignment forms document conditions such as insufficient nurse staffing that put patients at risk.
NYSNA is the professional association for registered nurses in New York with more than 34,000 members statewide. A multipurpose organization, NYSNA fosters high standards of nursing education and practice and works to advance the profession through legislative activity and collective bargaining. NYSNA is a constituent of the American Nurses Association (ANA) and its labor arm, the United American Nurses (UAN), which is an affiliate of the AFL-CIO.