NYSNA Presbyterian Nurses Approve Landmark
Nurses at the Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center approved on Dec. 20 a precedent-setting three-year contract that will provide safe staffing guarantees, health coverage upon retirement and breakthrough base salaries.
Contract highlights (reached in just 12 negotiating sessions):
*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.
*Retiree health - 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.
*Salary - 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 contract's final year. RNs will also receive a retention bonus equal to 1% of their salary in the contract's third year.
*Additional compensation - 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 Veteran RNs who also mentor orientees - called preceptors - will also receive a raise in their pay for such duties.
*Continuing education - Recognizing the need to help RNs keep shifts was raised from $5,400 per year to $6,000 per year. 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.
Full press release