NY RNs Still on Strike - page 2

NYSNA Represented Nurses: 474 Contract Expired: May 15 Issues: Staffing - In June 1998, the hospital, then known as St. John's Episcopal, was cited by the state Health Department for numerous... Read More

  1. by   -jt
    * NLRB Orders Hospital to Pay Nurses Back Striking RNs who opted out of the hospitals healthcare plan will now receive the full $500 they are entitled, as a result of charges filed by NYSNA.

    Under an agreement with NYSNA, St. Catherines is to provide nurses who do not wish to take part in the healthcare plan with
    two opt-out payments of $500 per year. RNs who opted out were supposed to have received a full $500 in January, but the hospital only sent them a partial payment, saying they would not pay the remainder because the nurses were on strike.

    NYSNA filed a charge of unfair labor practice with the National Labor Relations Board and won. The NLRB has ordered the hospital to make full payments - checks should arrive soon.

    * To the people of Smithtown: Support the RNs - Say No to the Bishops Annual Appeal The registered nurses of St. Catherine's are asking for the community's support in our fight for safe patient care. If you recently received a letter from our Bishops Annual Appeal, we ask you withhold your donation until the strike is resolved.

    * Nurses Parade Scheduled St. Catherine's nurses will hold a parade from 12:00 Noon to 2:00 P.M. on Saturday, February 16, 2002. The parade will travel Main Street and St. Johnland Road in Smithtown, from Lawrence Avenue to the hospital. The nurses will be joined by members of Long Island labor unions, NYSNA colleagues from area hospitals, and local elected public officials. NYSNA | Current
    Collective Bargaining | St. Catherine of Siena Strike
  2. by   -jt
    From the nurses on strike on Long Island, NY:

    After 100 days on strike.......

    Strike update - Day 100


    It is 8:30 AM and we just completed our negotiations. We reached a tentative agreement. The following is our plan for this week Thursday we will hold informational meetings from 1 pm - 8pm at the Wyndwatch. Friday and Saturday we will vote 1pm - 8pm at the Wyndwatch.

    Picket line will be maintained one hour a day until we vote on the contract 12 noon - 1pm. only

    To the St Catherines Nurses fron their RN negotiating team:

    Just a quick point, the hospital has agreed to allow any nurse who has resigned to recind her/his resignation if they write a letter stating their intent to do so ASAP.

    Also, if you have resigned but want to remain perdiem you must also write a letter asking for the change in status bugeted to perdiem. (Date of hire - for seniority purposes - will be preserved.

    You have shown to be a dedicated, cohesive and formidable group to deal with. I salute each and every one of you for every step you took at the bottom of the hill and every meeting you attended and every fear you expressed and every tear you shed.

    It was not for naught -- we challenged the giants and the victory belongs to the people of this community. Who would have dreamed that we could actually accomplish what we did in the face of so much opposition?

    Yet we did, without the white knights, without the doctors, without the media, without other unions without a doubt we earned this victory for ourselves, how amazing is that? You will never feel the same about yourself or us ever again.

    NYSNA is arranging a celebration party for some time next week. The date, time and location to be determined.
    It will be casual, at the Wyndwatch, we hope if they have the room. Buffet, around $23. each, I don't know how much of the cost we have to pick up, but I would ask you bring your spouse to this, they suffered every bit as much as we through all this if not more.

    We did not compromise our members rights in any fashion. We got retroactives back to 5/16/01.

    Some where in the back of my mind are the words I want to say to thank each and everyone one of you for your unyeilding support.

    For as long as it takes,
    Remember, we only have to last
    one day longer than management.........>>>>>>>>

    Congratulations, Barbara!
  3. by   -jt
    Going Down to the wire.....
    First came the last-minute side-swipe from the hospital:

    February 28, 2002

    "In Strike Talks, A Snag? Or A Recess?

    BY: Barbara J. Durkin. STAFF WRITER
    SECTION: News

    It looked good that a settlement in the three- month-long strike by nurses at St. Catherine of Siena Medical Center in Smithtown might be within reach, as negotiations stretched from 10 a.m. Tuesday into the early morning hours yesterday.

    But by 6:30 a.m., the talks were over - with no contract.

    Depending on whom you asked, the talks either broke down in an angry dispute over "return-to-work" issues or simply adjourned as a matter of course so negotiators could iron out remaining issues when they were fresh.

    The New York State Nurses Association, the union representing the 474 nurses who have been striking since November, said yesterday that it was filing unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board as a result of the latest talks.

    The main issue that ended the talks, the nurses' union said, is a hospital request that nurses who crossed the picket line would not face any union charges. Twenty-nine nurses (out of the more than 450 on strike) have crossed the picket line since the strike began 94 days ago, union representative Michael Chacon said. All but three of them have resigned from the union, which means union charges cannot be lodged against them.

    "This has made things 20 times worse than they were before," Chacon said. "They are essentially holding us hostage over three nurses."

    But St. Catherine's president Jim Wilson saw the matter differently. "Talks did not break down. Talks were recessed," said Wilson, noting that considerable progress had been made in the last two prolonged bargaining sessions.

    Both sides agree that virtually all issues have been agreed to except for the return-to-work issues. While the union could ask that members not file charges against the three nurses, he said, any NYSNA member can bring such complaints, under the union's bylaws.

    "They asked us to waive our members' rights and violate our bylaws," Chacon said. "Even if we wanted to, we could not."

    But Wilson said the hospital believed the union had the latitude to do that.

    When the strike is over, he said, "There has to be forgiveness on everyone's part for all the things that have occurred during the strike."

    Chacon agreed that healing must take place but he said the hospital's latest demand has hurt negotiations.

    "The nurses are unbelievably angry," he said.

    Union officials yesterday said the NLRB, just this week, upheld earlier bad-faith bargaining charges brought against St. Catherine's, including reneging on previous agreements, responding with inferior proposals and failing to pay nurses the vacation and holiday time they are owed.

    Bringing the charges means there is sufficient evidence to bring the matter before an administrative law judge, who ultimately will decide whether the hospital violated labor law, said Al Blyer, regional director of the Brooklyn office of the NLRB.

    Should a contract be agreed upon, however, such charges could be dropped altogether.

    Blyer also said if the hospital were to insist on the union promising not to discipline nurses - if all other matters were resolved - that possibly could constitute an unfair labor practice.

    He also noted that while union officials may not be able to stop individuals from bringing charges against the nurses, those officials likely would investigate the charges and could decide what actions should be taken.

    Contract talks are set to resume on Sunday.
  4. by   -jt

    "Tentative Deal for Nurses
    St. Catherine's nurses to vote

    By Barbara J. Durkin
    Staff Writer

    It took 99 days and a final bargaining session that stretched through the early morning hours yesterday, but a tentative agreement finally has been reached in the nurses' strike at St. Catherine of Siena Medical Center in Smithtown.

    The hospital's nurses are scheduled to vote on the proposed contract Friday and Saturday, which the New York State Nurses' Association union is recommending they approve.

    Neither side would discuss details of the contract yesterday, pending a meeting with the nurses Thursday to outline the deal.

    Barbara Crane, the registered nurse who heads the St. Catherine's bargaining unit, said that nurses were "ecstatic" to hear that an agreement had been reached. She said she thought the proposal would be approved.

    "I think they'll be very happy," Crane said. "We got what we were hoping for."

    Hospital president Jim Wilson also welcomed the agreement, which he said paves the way for the nurses to return in the spirit of "peace and reconciliation."

    "We look forward to the nurses returning to work beginning March 17. We want all of them to come back," he said. "It's a contract that will allow us to enhance the recruitment and retention of registered nurses."

    Among the major issues in the strike was the nurses' desire for staffing guidelines and reduced mandatory overtime. The nurses also sought health care retirement benefits.

    People familiar with the proposed contract said it contains language on staffing guidelines and the limited use of mandatory overtime, along with incentives to limit mandatory overtime. The nurses set aside their request to join a union health plan instead of the hospital plan, settling for a retirement health benefit.

    Last week, union leaders were angry over some "back to work" provisions the hospital had requested, including that nurses who crossed the picket line would not face any union charges. But that was worked out yesterday.

    Thirty-three nurses have crossed the picket line since the strike began; all but three have resigned from the union as a result. Another 43 nurses have resigned from the hospital over the course of the three-month strike, union officials said. Some may return if the agreement is ratified, Crane said.

    The union represented 474 nurses at the start of the strike, but with the resignations from the hospital and union, about 400 or so will be eligible to vote on the contract this week.

    Pat Butera, an intensive care unit nurse who said she intends to vote for the settlment, said she she was eager to return to the hospital.

    "I'm looking forward to going back to a place that is in my neighborhood, a place where we did work closely together," said Butera, who added that the strike built camaraderie among the nurses. "We really grew together."
  5. by   -jt



    After 104 days on strike......


    302 IN FAVOR
    31 AGAINST

    WE HAVE A CONTRACT !!!!!!!

    we only had to last
    one day longer than management.
    And we did ......"
    Last edit by -jt on Mar 9, '02
  6. by   nightingale
    Thank you jt for keeping us updated.... awesome and congratulations....

  7. by   OC_An Khe
    Any details on the contract, or links to, would be appreciated. Congratulation
  8. by   -jt
    Im so glad you asked! I was beginning to think nobody was interested in this fight. ; ) THANKS!

    <<For immediate release:

    Long Island Nurses Strike Is Over!!

    St. Catherine's RNs approve contract that limits overtime and ensures safe staffing!

    SMITHTOWN, Long Island, NY March 9, 2002 - Registered nurses at St. Catherine of Siena Medical Center brought their 104-day strike to an end tonight by overwhelmingly approving a new three-year contract.

    The agreement places strict limits on the hospital's ability to force the nurses to work overtime and establishes a set of enforceable nurse-to-patient staffing guidelines. The 450 registered nurses, represented by the New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA) are to begin returning to work March 17.

    Some of the contract's provisions include:

    OVERTIME - The hospital will NO LONGER be able to require nurses to work overtime in non-emergency situations. A financial disincentive will be put into place to discourage the hospital from forcing the nurses to work overtime. If the hospital forces an RN to work beyond a regular shift, it would have to pay that RN an extra bonus of $11 per hour for the first four hours of overtime, and $16 per hour if the RN works more than four hours, IN ADDITION to paying the RN the usual time-and-a half.

    SAFE STAFFING - The hospital will implement a schedule of unit-by-unit, shift-by-shift guidelines that will ensure patients will have the adequate number of RNs on duty to care for them. If the nurses believe the hospital is not adhering to the ratios, they can seek to enforce them through arbitration.

    Volunteer staffing incentives - To help fill vacant shifts, the hospital will offer a bonus to RNs who are willing to work 24 weekends in a calendar year. In addition, RNs who volunteer to fill posted open shifts on nights, evenings, or weekend days also are eligible for additional compensation.

    RETIREE HEALTH BENEFITS - Starting in January 2003, nurses between the ages of 60 and 65 with 20 years of service will receive $2,500. per year to purchase health insurance until they are eligible for Medicare.

    Compensation - Base salaries will increase 5% across the board in each year of the contract, PLUS the nurses will receive increases in experience and night shift differentials. Salary increases will be fully retroactive to May 15, 2001.

    This is just a sample of the new contract. The agreement is the result of more than three months of difficult work on the part of the St. Catherine's nurses. NYSNA is proud of the strength, determination, and unity the nurses showed throughout the strike and is appreciative of the support the people and organizations of the community provided them.

    With more than 33,000 members, NYSNA is the leading organization for registered nurses in New York state and is one of the largest representatives of RNs for collective bargaining in the nation. A multi-purpose organization, NYSNA fosters high standards for nursing education and practice and works to advance the profession through legislative activity. For more information, call Mark Genovese at NYSNA: 518.782.9400, ext. 353.>>>>>>

  9. by   NRSKarenRN
    St. Catherine Strike Ends
    Nurses approve 3-year contract
    By Barbara J. Durkin
    March 11, 2002

    The longest nurses' strike in Long Island history is over, with nurses at St. Catherine of Siena Medical Center overwhelmingly approving a three-year contract that sends them back to work after 111 days off the job.

    "I'm grateful this is all coming to an end," said nurse Pat Castrechino, 43, of Kings Park, who had struggled to support her three young children during the strike. "What we were all fighting for, we got accomplished."

    The nurses "absolutely 100 percent" emerged victorious from the strike, said Barbara Crane, head of the New York State Nurses Association bargaining unit at the Smithtown hospital. The new contract, approved 302-31 Saturday night, provides average raises of 15 percent to 19 percent over three years, a health retirement benefit and most importantly, according to the nurses, staffing guidelines and strict limits on the use of mandatory overtime.

    The nurses will return, Crane said, with the knowledge that they won a battle not only for themselves but also for the profession. "It's time to get back to the business of putting this hospital back together," she said.

    Hospital president Jim Wilson noted that there was much give and take during a process that began last April, long before the strike.

    "I'm certainly very pleased with the contract we've been able to negotiate," he said. "We're both winners together."

    The contract will put the hospital in a leadership position in the region to recruit and retain nurses, Wilson said. The contract raises starting salaries from $43,000 to $50,000 in the first year and to $55,000 by the third year. It also includes other pay increases, incentive payments for overtime and tuition reimbursement, among other things.

    Nurses association spokesman Mark Genovese described the contract provisions on mandatory overtime as the strictest among the nine hospitals it represents on Long Island and among the strictest in the state. Under the contract, mandatory overtime can be used only in emergencies and depending on their salaries and hours worked, nurses may make more than double time for extra hours.

    Wilson yesterday declined to say how much the bitter strike had cost the hospital, which had to pay expensive replacement nurses to keep the hospital running when the staff nurses walked off the job. The hospital also saw a slight dip in patients during that time, he said. Forty-three nurses resigned during the strike, many finding other jobs. Wilson said he hopes that a good number will rescind their resignations.

    "I'd like to have all of them come back," he said. "I'm hoping a majority of them do."

    Wilson also said that the hospital is working to ensure that the nurses' return comes in an environment of peace and reconciliation.

    Some nurses, even those who voted for the contract, remain uneasy about their return. They will be returning to work alongside about 30 of their colleagues who crossed the picket line, and other staff members they felt were not supportive of their cause. Others worry whether the hospital will continue to make nurses work heavy overtime, forcing them to file grievances to enforce the contract.

    "My biggest fear is we're going to go back and nothing will have changed," said Laura Crespolini, who has worked for the hospital since 1977.

    Wilson said those fears are unfounded.

    Castrechino said she returns to work with no bitterness and a new sense of community with her fellow nurses. There were days, she said, when she wrestled with crossing the picket line.

    But every time her finances seemed determined to undermine her resolve, she said, a fellow nurse would come to her aid. "I would just say one word to a friend and was receiving things I didn't ask for but they knew I needed. Everyone came through for me and I got through it. The support I received was something I'll never forget."
    Copyright 2002, Newsday, Inc.
  10. by   -jt
    Return to Work Countdown
    - day 2 and counting

    Tomorrow the Rns go back to work. They will return en mass in unity. Those who are not on the schedule to work will be there to escort those who are working back to the hospital. All together - just as they have been for the 104 days of their strike. The Red Storm. Tonight NYSNA threw the St Catherines Rns' a fantastic Victory Party. The following letter is from the St Catherines staff RN who is the head of the union of nurses at that hospital (and is also a fearless leader)......

    <<Good Evening

    Tonight we danced the night away at the Wyndham Windwatch Hotel with 390 of our nearest and dearest. We had the time of our lives, nothing will compare with this night of the RED STORM Revival. Pictures will come in a day or so. My feet are killing me and my spirits are soaring. I am very proud to just be one of you.

    Where do I start to say thank you for this lovely gift? My wrist will wear this tribute to the Red Storm with great pride and humility. You are the most special people I have ever had the pleasure to call friends.

    Together we have walked a path we can never retrace. We are changed in ways we have yet to appreciate. Our personal growth will be measured in volumes.

    We have amazed even ourselves with the shear power of our numbers when focused on one vision and that we never lost sight of the challenge we faced to enhance our profession, and protect our patients.

    I went to a conference years ago and Leah Curtin, a well known nursing educator and lecturer, said keep your eye on the goal, if it is good for the patients it is always the right path.

    Never lose sight of the what your are looking to achieve and your successes will be many. This is our story and it should never be forgotten.

    This message came across my desk tonight, What a nice surprise from a generous stranger. Thank you for your generous words of support:

    <<Madam, I am a close relative of one of your RPNS and I am impressed by your steadfastness, intelligence and plain hard work!!!! Your devotion to your fellow Nurses and your cause is outstanding!!! THAT IS WHY YOU WON!>>

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ +++++++++

    Tonight at the Dance Joan Anderson spoke of remaining politically active and promoting our profession. You the nurses of this organization have started a chain reaction and we must see that it continues.

    Today, Debbie and Mike and Lynn McC. and I attended a meeting of the Labor Coalition is Hauppauge. They are a consortium of labor leaders that are trying to help deal with the nursing shortage.

    They are so impressed with our group that they want to use our energy to stir the fires in other nursing organizations across the state.

    Today we set in motion the grass roots of an initiative that may end up with state wide implications for the RED STORM and all nursing organizations across the state. Stay tuned to this one.
    Remember that old saying, be careful what you pray for. Well, kiddies, here we go.
    This could be The RED STORMS first collective initiative on the political front. Consider coming to the following Labor Federations Congressional Forum. It is here in Hauppauge. Please scan the guest list, Oh my, Oh my, let go talk to the big guys. Come on we can do it.

    Let me know if youre interested:

    Event: Long Island Labor Federation's Annual Congressional Forum
    Date: Monday, April 8 at 6:30 p.m.
    Confirmed guests: Ackerman, King, Israel, McCarthy, Grucci, Schumer, and
    Program: Panel discussion then questions. Microphones will be available for
    the audience.
    Place: IBEW Local 25 Union Hall, 370 Vanderbilt Motor Parkway, Hauppauge
    Directions: L.I.E. to Exit 55 (Motor Pkwy), left at Exit. Go about half a
    mile and the Union Hall will be to your right. Big American flag outside.
    Pull into the parking lot, entrance to the hall is around the back.
    Their number: (631) 231-3894

    It just doesn't get any better than this ...........

    Good night, we are .....
    on the long road back,

    One group of nurses taking a stand - refusing to let others take the care out of nursing - and it has already had such far-reaching effects.
  11. by   OC_An Khe
    Thanks for the information abut the contract . All the RNs there did an excellent job.
  12. by   -jt
    <<Returning to work from the strike - and feeling empowered>>>

    notes from the troops:

    "to the members of the Red Storm,

    The success of our endeavor could not have been accomplished with just the negotiating committee. The support of all of you at the table was always an inspiration to the group. Being able to talk and hear what you believed was necessary to achieve our end results was always appreciated.

    From here its only upward we are able to go since as a group we believe in our objectives and causes. See you all on the hill, and I do mean the Top of the hill.

    Debbie V
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ ++++++++++

    What a wonderful time we had yesterday at our VICTORY CELEBRATION! As I looked around the room and watched everyone having such a great time, I thought how fortunate I was to be there, sharing the evening with many life time friends.

    Thank you to you and the negotiating committee for your perseverance, guidance, and emotional support.

    Yes, I would like to be actively involved with issues regarding the nursing shortage.
    Count me in for April 8th, unless I'm mandated----JUST KIDDING!!!!!!!!
    See you back at the hospital.
    Love, Lorraine

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> >>>>>>>>>>

    <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<< <<<<<<<<


    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    Hi Barb,

    count me in for the annual labor congressional forum on 4/8.

    GREAT PARTY last night........ We are all going to miss our nightly e-mails from you, kind of became part of our life.

    What a WONDERFUL FAMILY we have all become, it was so evident last night.
    Thanks again,

    ################################################## #################

    Hey Barb:
    I know you have heard this over and over and over...and it may be getting old, however, dear you started something....get used to it now.

    I feel the reason we succeeded as well as we did is, yes, we as a group held in there for the long haul, however, WE ARE A REFLECTION OF OUR LEADER! And let me tell you, whether, you realize it or not, YOU are some hell of a leader. Thank you ... you can't even come close to the appreciation we all have of you.

    Finally, Carlos and I had a super time last night. I was so happy that he came so that he could just get a "small" dosage of what I get every time I go to work. I am so fortunate to be working with a group of professional, dedicated and sincere nurses.

    See ya at the top of the hill,

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ ++++++++

    Dear Barbara,

    WHAT A PARTY!!! Do we know how to have a good time or what!?!?!? It is just what we needed to end our our time off and get the good energy flowing to get back in the building......And it is a night to remember. This is such an amazing group of people..... proud to know.

    I was serious about us having an annual party to remember this journey we have taken.

    Life as we know it will never be the same again for any of us.

    This has been a life changing event on many levels and will have a ripple efffect not only in our personal lives but with the public!!!! How amazing is that?

    It is true about power in numbers.......

    With much love and gratitude,

    ================================================== =======





    '''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''' '''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''' '''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''' '''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''' '''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''

    Wow! I had the greatest time last nite, I think when we did that wonderful thunderous cheer the guests on the top floor were wondering "what the hell is that".

    We are definitely a voice that must continue to be heard. I will be there on the 8th and I am definitely interested in other times like joan said, Albany, Washington you name the time.

    Well last nite was a send off in the best direction and now that we have our spirits soaring and with our one united group, we walk in their tomorrow and show them how proud we are.

    Thank you again from the bottom and top of my heart, you have shown me the way and I'm goin down the road to the end.

    Love and gratitude
    Debbie H.

    )))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))) )))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))) ))))))))))))))))))

    B.C. Had the best time!!!!!!

    So many smiling happy faces. It was great.

    Again thank you and the negotiating committee. And can you please thank NYSNA for the party. It was the best moral, back to work, friendship event. Not that I don't want to go back to work but I will miss many of the new friends I've made. I hope I see them in the halls.

    Did they get to you with the deal that we should have a celebratioon every year like last night on the anniversary of the contract? Not a bad idea.

    Anyway I will see you at 6:30 tommorrow--I consider it my last strike event -- I was getting to be a strike junky you know.
    Well gunna go soak my dancing fool feet again.

    ************************************************** ******************************************

    Hi Barbara,
    Just got home from the Windwatch. You know by now the ER is a bunch of die hards. Tonight was really great.. We had a great time. It was a pep rally to get us psyched up to go back. I'm really feeling ambivalent about going back, but I know we have all formed a strong bond that will keep us going.

    I know too that the local hospitals are sorry to see us go back.

    At Stony Brook everyone from the aides to the nurses to the MDs said how much they liked working with us and want us to stay there.

    We all know there are places for us out there if we want to move on. I would never have gone and worked elsewhere if it wasn't for the strike, but I know now I can handle it. I grumble that we had to wait until the first year I have to pay college tuition at a private school no less, to go out on strike, but I'm glad we did.

    Thanks to all the negotiating team for your endless hours working on our behalf.
    Kathie Simmons

    .................................................. .................................................. ...................

    Dear Barb:
    What a GREAT party we had tonite!!! It was wonderful and a fantastic way to acknowledge this long, up and down road we have been traveling these past 3.5 months. Tonite will be treasured by all. Thanks for the memories.
    Love, Tina

    Dare to be great....Be a nurse!!



    ************************************************** **

    Ok, so how about a little political activity.

    One thing that too many nurses are guilty of is NOT being involved in political activity - until such time as we need the politicians. We go to them for support in our efforts and our battles and they come out to support our strikes, walk in our parades, speak at our rallys. And when the issue is resolved, we go back to work and they dont hear from us again - until the next time we need them.

    We should make a concerted effort to keep the contacts & the lines of communication open with our local leaders - offer to help in a campaign, stuff envelopes, pass out flyers, etc. Or even a letter every once in a while to remind them that we are out there.

    Today Mike and Lynn McC and I met with the heads of some local nurses unions. We have started what I believe is the grass roots of the NFL.

    This Nursing Fellowship League is going to allow us to reach out and support other nurses facing the same diffuculties we are facing.

    This is strictly nurses supporting nurses.

    Our administrators and CEO's formed alliances years ago to keep up with what was happening in health care. It is time we form a collective group to handle some of the same problems, who will be surprised that we see the solutions totally differently. Not me.

    I have told these councils that the Red Storm is a very strong and supportive group and many of you have said you would be willing to participate in this joint venture. So step up and be counted. It is time.

    Good luck to all that are returning to the hill tomorrow, chin up, back straight, you are definately a winner with a capitol "W".

    See you in the morning in front of the building at 0630, if your not working, it is just a matter of walking your coworker to their floor and then on to breakfast with your buddies. Remember to wear the sweat shirts.

    Till then my friends ...............
    Good night, we are .....
    on the long road back,

    Barbara "

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> >

    (St Catherines Registered Nurses
    Smithtown, Long Island, NY)
  13. by   -jt
    March 18, 2002

    "Sweets Ease Way as Nurses Return

    There had been some acrimony on both sides, but the nurses who headed back to work at St. Catherine of Siena Medical Center yesterday found that it was nothing that some donuts, coffee and A NEW CONTRACT couldn't begin to cure.

    And so, at 7 a.m. yesterday, the first shift of nurses who had been a part of the longest nurses' strike in Long Island history was greeted with coffee and sweets, and the encouraging words of hospital president Jim Wilson.

    Wilson met the first shift in the lobby of the hospital and told the nurses he was ready to move past the strike and begin working as a team.

    "He told us what we needed to hear," said Tom Gorman, a psychiatry nurse from Port Jefferson who was on the bargaining committee of the New York State Nurses' Association, which negotiated the contract. "He welcomed us with full encouragement that we will resolve any conflicts that we had."

    Several nurses said they returned to work with a new appreciation for their jobs and their fellow strikers - and a new resolve that they had been doing the right thing all along.

    "It was truly worth it," said maternity nurse Wendy Farrar of Smithtown, who has worked at the hospital for 21 years. "This was an experience I will never forget. It was so empowering ... I've promised myself that I'll be more politically active because of this." (This was the Newsday quote of the day - Congratulations Wendy.)

    Farrar's optimism sprang from the contract the nurses approved after 111 days on the picket line. The new contract provides average raises of 15 percent to 19 percent over three years, a health retirement benefit and most important, according to the nurses, staffing guidelines and strict limits on the use of mandatory overtime.

    But several nurses yesterday said the new overtime provision would be put to the test quickly, as several of their striking colleagues had decided not to return. The exact number of nurses who won't come back won't be determined until Sunday, the mandatory return-to-work date.

    "They're already holding interviews" to fill the vacant positions, said maternity nurse Diane Rettig of South Setauket. "I take that as a good sign."

    Another test in the weeks ahead will be how the returning nurses interact with 30 of their colleagues who crossed the picket line.

    Gorman said there were two such nurses on his first shift. "It was a bit uncomfortable, and it will continue to be as they work alongside 450 nurses who were out all this time," he said. "They made an economic choice to return to work."

    Rettig, Farrar and fellow maternity nurse Ann Robbins of Holbrook said the doctors, aides and other staff in their department welcomed them back with open arms - and even more sweets.

    "Even the ones who didn't work today," Farrar said. "They didn't have to come in, but they did."........

    Good night.
    We are ..... finally back,
    Barbara >>>>>>>>>

    and this is the end of this thread.....until next time. I hope that my posting the saga about the fight these RNs waged and won for safe staffing practices, safe staffing levels, safe patient care, and their own care, as it happened, from start to finish, helped other nurses see that the power IS in our hands. All we have to do is not be afraid to use it.

    Thanks to all here for supporting our nurse colleagues on Long Island, NY - my fellow union members. And much thanks to those "Red Storm" nurses for going the distance. Our efforts at our own facilities will be that much easier thanks to them.

    While the lawmakers debate passing laws that will ensure safe staffing practices state-wide and nation-wide, unionized nurses are raising the standard - facility by facility.

    Last edit by -jt on Mar 19, '02