NYSNA RNS DO IT AGAIN!!
RNs at Columbia-Presbyterian Ratify Break-through Contract
New York City, Dec. 21, 2001
Just 2 short yrs ago, the 1600 RNs at a famous NYC hospital were 1 hr away from walking out on strike over staffing issues when the hospital finally blinked first, gave an offer the nurses could accept, and the strike was averted at the last minute. Obviously the administration learned its lesson about nurse unity & strength from that experience because THIS time,....... without even the threat of a strike......
Registered nurses at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center Thursday overwhelmingly approved a three-year contract that provides staffing guarantees, health coverage upon retirement, and breakthrough base salaries that will exceed $60,000
The 1,600 RNs are represented by the New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA). Their most recent two-year contract was due to expire on Dec. 31. This new contract reflects a dramatic change in the status of labor management relations at the facility. It was negotiated in just 12 sessions and completed before the expiration of the current agreement - something that has not happened in the last 20 years. Just two years ago, the nurses were just minutes away from striking because of disagreements on staffing issues......... ......
This contract gives RNs at Presbyterian the best contract in the city, said Donna Verry, NYSNA nursing representative. It shows that after several years of rocky relations, there was a real effort on the hospitals part to address the nursing shortage and make Columbia-Presbyterian an attractive place for RNs to work. The agreement includes:
Safe staffing guarantees:
A mechanism to allow the nurses to enforce unit-by-unit, shift-by-shift guidelines for safe RN staffing will be expanded throughout the entire hospital. Under their most recent contract, this enforceability provision was in effect in only one area of the hospital. Guidelines can be enforced through grievance and third-party arbitration if they are not implemented by hospital management. A full-time labor management committee will also be established to continuously monitor staffing levels and staffing related problems..........
Recognizing that health care coverage is an important issue for veteran registered nurses, this contract will provide retiring RNs with up to $2,500 each year tax free to cover the cost of purchasing health insurance.........
The nurses will receive a 12% salary increase over the life of the contract. The base rate for staff nurses will increase from its current $48,500 to $60,570 in the contracts final year. RNs will also receive a retention bonus equal to 1% of their salary in the contracts third year........
The cap on the experience differential was raised from $25,000 after 29 years to $29,000 after 32 years, while the differential for working the evening and night shifts was raised from $5,400 per year to $6,000 per year. Veteran RNs who also mentor orientees called preceptors will also receive a raise in their pay for such duties........
Recognizing the need to help RNs keep their job skills current, the contract increases tuition reimbursement from 15 credits and $6,000 per year to 18 credits and $10,000 per year. The contract also increases the amount of time an RN is eligible to take as sick leave, and provides for additional labor-management committees to work on other workplace issues............
The hospital understands the need to maintain communication between management and the nurses is ongoing, Verry said.
Thanks to the collective effort of the nurses, management now recognizes its obligation to provide for appropriate nurse staffing and safe patient care.........
These 1,600 unionized nurses just raised the bar for every nurse in our entire city. It all happened because the nurses stood strongly UNITED & committed to each other for the last contentious negotiations & went right down to the wire without blinking. The hospital became enlightened with that "education".
Now, because of what these nurses did, every hospital in the city will have to pay attention & make improvements to be competitve or lose staff - union, nonunion, NYSNA represented facilities & facilities that have nurses represented by any other labor union. They can all thank these 1600 nurses.
Call it the trickle down effect. Thats how a strong union of nurses in the area helps EVERY working nurse in the area and its what this organization has been doing for more than 30 yrs in this city.
And thats how we set the standard, raise the bar, and establish the norm.
None of this would have ever happened without the nurses being united and without the legal rights that afford them the ability, as a union, to stand their ground.