nurses win improvements in staffing, working conditions - page 2

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  1. by   -jt
    District of Columbia Nurses Association (DCNA) - Howard Unit Reaches Settlement With Howard University Hospital

    Washington, DC - A settlement has been reached in negotiations between DCNA-Howard (representing nurses, pharmacists, social workers and dieticians) and Howard University Hospital.

    The agreement confirms the authority of Registered Nurses at the hospital to delegate appropriate duties to unlicensed caregivers. It also protects the Registered Nurses' licenses that were previously put in jeopardy with the use of unlicensed caregivers (PCTs, who are nursing students). They will continue to provide care to patients, but only if delegated by Registered Nurses who can assess the skills of the PCTs. This has been a key issue for employees throughout the negotiations.

    Other key issues agreed to are:

    * Flexible scheduling for all employees, a change that will improve working conditions and will enable employees to provide the highest level of patient care.

    It also will allow the hospital to more effectively recruit and retain experienced health care professionals.

    DCNA and Howard agreed to provide, in addition to 8 hour and 10 hour shifts, a 36 hour scheduling option (12 hour shifts with full benefits) and a weekend alternative program (12 hour shifts on a weekend, paid at a 36 hour rate)

    * A ban on mandatory overtime

    * Union representation at appropriate high-level major executive level committee meetings.

    ** The key compensation issue has been the unilateral wage increase that was given last year to only approximately 110 members of the bargaining unit (approximately 400 total) by Howard University Hospital. The parties now agree to a five percent retroactive pay increase to July 2001 for all members who did not receive the illegal salary increase. This will be a check that will average $3,500 and be issued within 15 days of ratification. Those who received the illegal raise last year will NOT have to pay it back. This has been a disputed point, but the Hospital realized that those who received the increase should not be punished for the Hospital's mistake.

    The compensation package also includes:

    * 2% increase yearly for the duration of this contract which will run from ratification through 6/30/04, increases occurring in 2002, 2003 and 2004

    * Raises for nurses and pharmacists will exceed 11%. Pharmacists' salaries will be increased to $75,000 and $77,000 for those with at least 10 years experience at Howard. The minimum salary for all Registered Nurses is increased to $45,848;

    * A bonus program for those with excellent attendance.

    "This was a difficult negotiations and we fought long and hard for quality and safe patient care, quality of life improvement for the union members and a fair and equitable contract for everyone," stated DCNA-Howard President Gregg Nurse-Ifill, MEd. RN. "We look forward to an on-going dialogue between DCNA and management."

    DCNA is a member of the American Nurses Association and its union arm, the United American Nurses (UAN)/AFL-CIO.
    Last edit by -jt on Dec 13, '02
  2. by   -jt
    for immediate release

    contact: mark genovese: 518.782.9400, ext. 353

    rns at kingsbrook win 13% salary increase

    brooklyn, ny march 3, 2003 -- on feb. 28, nysna members at kingsbrook jewish medical center overwhelmingly approved a new three-year contract that will increase their base salaries by 13% over the life of the contract.

    the contract is effective retroactive to jan. 15, 2003, and will run until jan. 15, 2006. base rates will increase 2% retroactive to jan. 16, 2003; and will increase 3% on sept. 30, 2003; 4% in sept. 2004; and 4% in sept. 2005.

    this will raise the base starting salary from the current $55,165 to $62,686 in 2005.

    negotiations were completed on valentine's day after only four sessions in a two-week period.

    other highlights of the agreement:

    * retirement benefit - rns age 60 or older with 20 years or more of service will now be eligible for retirement health benefits. they will be covered by these benefits until they become eligible for medicare.

    * safe staffing - staffing ratios that the nurses developed during the past two years were formally incorporated into the contract. these ratios will be enforceable through arbitration if nysna believes the hospital is not adhering to them.

    * compensation - along with the salary increases, shift and experience differentials and tuition refunds have also been increased.

    * medical benefit and pension - there will be no givebacks in health and pensions. kingsbrook rns will remain a part of the nysna pension and benefit funds.

    nysna congratulates the rns at kingsbrook and applauds them for displaying the strength and unity to win a fair contract in such a short time.

    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.

    had to color highlight re staffing ratios. karen :d
    Last edit by NRSKarenRN on Mar 9, '03
  3. by   lee1
    Do you know about any contracts recently renewed in NJ? Or, any upcoming ones????

    The bidding wars seem to be gaining momentum. Many nurses DO seem to leave due to greater flexiblity and salary increase. Also pensions/retirement benefits seem to be keeping those that want to stay.
    Working conditions are also important-----pt/RN ratios

    Those hospitals that did go on strike, what seemed to be the focus of the strike? You cannot make the focus ONLY money
  4. by   oramar
    Just want to tell you I loved you last post on this subject -jt. Makes me happy to see nurses flexing their muscles.
  5. by   -jt
    <Those hospitals that did go on strike, what seemed to be the focus of the strike?>

    Most nurses strikes are over 3 main issues - safe staffing ratios, mandatory ot bans, and salary/benefits that will attract and retain more RNs. Money is an issue because it too affects pt care. If the job doesn't pay enough & doesnt offer better benefits, nobody will want to work there & then you wont be able to have enough RNs to provide safe staffing or eliminate the need for overtime to fill in holes.
    Theres no shame in demanding more money. Salary & benefits are important recruitment/retention initiatives.
    Last edit by -jt on Mar 9, '03
  6. by   -jt
    <Do you know about any contracts recently renewed in NJ?>

    No but I do know of a brand new one:

    Shore Memorial RNs Begin Reaping Benefits of New Pact

    Somers Point, N.J., Jan. 29, 2003 - The 450 RNs at Shore Memorial Hospital in Somers Point, New Jersey have their first contract. After negotiating for almost a year and a half, both sides were satisfied that a fair, enforceable contract had been reached. Lorraine Seidel, RN, director of NYSNA's Economic & General Welfare Program, said, "We are proud to represent these dedicated nurses, who showed what RNs can achieve when they unite to speak with one voice. This is our first, but not our last, collective bargaining contract for New Jersey's registered nurses." Bargaining unit chair Joanne Gramlich, RN added, "These negotiations have always been about providing the best care for patients and the best working conditions for nurses."

    Shore Memorial Hospital nurses this month have begun receiving the first salary hikes under their new contract--the first ever negotiated for New Jersey RNs by the New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA). The paychecks of Jan. 5 and Jan. 19 reflected average increases of 4.76% on their base salary. In addition, they have been receiving their new shift differentials, and a pool of $20,000 has been established for reimbursement for their continuing education activities.

    The three-year contract includes another benefit long sought by the nurses: creation of a staffing committee consisting of equal numbers of management and union representatives. The committee's mission is to jointly establish safe staffing levels for Shore Memorial. Once set, the facility must enforce them, because the levels will be enforceable through arbitration.

    "The salary increases are important because they'll help to stanch the flow of nurses out of Shore Memorial," said Joanne Gramlich, chair of the NYSNA bargaining unit at the hospital. High turnover and short-staffing had been two of the biggest problems at Shore Memorial and were a major reason why the nurses wanted to organize. They voted for NYSNA to be their union in April of 2001 and began negotiating the contract three months later. The agreement was ratified in December 2002.

    Laura Kennedy, RN, NYSNA's nursing representative for the 430 RNs at the hospital, said, "The staffing committee was something all the nurses wanted. The vast majority of our nurses are from this area and their patients are their neighbors. Nurses were being assigned far too many patients to provide the kind of care those patients need and deserve.

    With the staffing committee in place, nurses at last have an equal and enforceable voice in decisions regarding patient-to-nurse ratios. That makes Shore Memorial patients safer, and improves quality care."

    NYSNA has more than 35,000 members in New York and New Jersey. "The association is very proud of the Shore Memorial nurses for their persistence in winning this great contract," said Lorraine Seidel, director of NYSNA's Economic & General Welfare Program.

    To celebrate the implementation of the new contract, the RNs are holding a buffet supper-party at Bubba Mac's Shack, 520 Bay Ave. in Somers Point on Friday, January 31, starting at 7 p.m.
    Last edit by -jt on Mar 9, '03
  7. by   -jt
    <any contracts recently renewed in NJ?>

    NYSNA REPORT: March 2003

    A Party with a Purpose: Shore RNs Celebrate First Contract
    The 430 nurses at Shore Memorial Hospital in Somers Point, N.J. started reaping the benefits of their new contract in January, and they celebrated in style.

    The three-year pact, signed after more than a year of negotiations, took effect Jan. 4. In April 2001, the RNs at Shore Memorial organized as NYSNA's first bargaining unit in New Jersey.

    "Negotiations were long and hard, but thanks to the perseverance of our fantastic bargaining team, we succeeded," said NYSNA organizer Lisa Ruiz.

    In January, the RNs received the first paychecks with their new salaries. Those checks reflected average increases of 4.76% on their base wages. In addition, they began receiving their new shift differentials.

    On Jan. 31, NYSNA held a buffet supper-party celebration and awards ceremony, with music by a local DJ at a restaurant in Somers Point. Nearly 100 nurses and family members attended.

    A Nice Improvement: More Paid Time Off
    "There were some members at the restaurant who have worked at the hospital at least 25 years. That group will be getting a full extra week of paid time off this year, as well as higher salaries, thanks to the new contract. Yet for some of them, this was their first 'union meeting,'" said NYSNA nursing representative Laura Kennedy, RN.

    "It was great because they got to see the camaraderie of their union, as well as its effectiveness." NYSNA staff also gave out certificates of appreciation to the negotiating team, which was headed by unit chairperson Joanne Gramlich, RN.

    It's the Negotiating Team that Did It
    "If it weren't for the leadership and determination of Joanne and her team, we would never have achieved the contract we're celebrating today," Kennedy said.

    Gramlich and the negotiating committee persuaded her fellow RNs to support NYSNA informational picketing, leafleting, rallies, and many other events during the course of negotiations. And they continuously let the public know what the issues were by using fliers, lawn signs, buttons, billboards, and networking opportunities. Last summer, they even hired a plane to tow a banner over New Jersey's beaches proclaiming, "Shore Memorial nurses need a contract now!"

    Their outreach efforts succeeded. Among NYSNA's constant supporters at rallies and events were New Jersey Assemblymember Jeff Van Drew and members of the Teamsters, the firefighters and musicians' unions, and the local labor/religion coalition.

    Staffing Levels Were the Issue
    "The main issue all along was safe staffing," said Gramlich. "What kept us going was our knowledge that we were really fighting for our patients. Unsafe staffing levels, high turnover, and exhausted RNs all contribute to a lower quality of patient care.

    "Yes, we have better pay now, and more time off, but what I'm proudest of is the staffing committee that we established in our contract." The committee consists of an equal number of union RNs and management representatives, who will determine RN staffing levels at the hospital. Its recommendations are enforceable through arbitration.

    Kennedy summed up the dual purposes of the party: "We wanted to celebrate, but we also wanted to do this to thank the nurses for all their hard work, and for being an example to RNs everywhere of what you can achieve when you stick together."

    Lorraine Seidel, director of NYSNA's Economic & General Welfare Program, added, "The Shore Memorial nurses richly deserved this celebration of what you can achieve when you organize with NYSNA. We expect this to be just the first of many such events in New Jersey."

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    Last edit by -jt on Mar 23, '03