NYSNA Represented Nurses: 474
Contract Expired: May 15
Staffing - In June 1998, the hospital, then known as St. John's Episcopal, was cited by the state Health Department for numerous violations - including low RN staffing - after the death of a patient. After this incident, NYSNA fought to establish, and won, a set of unit-by-unit, shift-by-shift, RN-to-patient staffing guidelines that would ensure a safe staffing level.
Within a year, because of complex administrative problems, St. John's faced bankruptcy. Catholic Health System of Long Island offered to buy the facility, but demanded the nurses surrender their staffing guidelines, threatening to close the hospital if they refused.
In the interests of their patients and the community, and expecting to re-visit the issue of staffing guidelines with the next contract - the first with the new employer, the nurses reluctantly agreed to give up the guidelines for that time. Hospital officials promised that they would do their best to maintain a safe staffing level. But staffing remains a problem, and why the nurses voted Nov. 13 and 14 to strike.
Although the hospital is willing to consider reinstating a form of staffing guideline, it is not willing to enable nurses to enforce them through third-party arbitration. Such enforcement is a must if the nurses are to have the legal means to hold the hospital accountable.
Mandatory overtime - A problem that is an outgrowth of short staffing, mandatory overtime fills vacant shifts when there are not enough RNs on staff. Typically, a nursing supervisor orders a nurse to work the next shift, or leaves the nurse with no choice but to "volunteer." Not only is this disruptive to the nurse's life, should the nurse have children in daycare, but working an additional eight-hour shift is exhausting and dangerous for patient care.
The nurses want a provision stating the hospital will not require overtime except in an emergency. The hospital prefers to use such overtime as a regular staffing tool to fill vacancies.
Health coverage - As a means of encouraging veteran nurses to stay at St. Catherine's, NYSNA is seeking to improve their health benefits plan. NYSNA is offering a plan that would be more financially stable and offer far better benefits than the hospital's current self insured plan. The NYSNA plan would also offer the nurses the option of retirement health insurance, which is not available through the hospital. Although the plan is competitively priced, the hospital has inflated the figures to say it is too expensive.
12-Hour Shifts - Currently many RNs in specialty units are working "flextime" - a schedule of three days of 12-hour shifts. Not only does this schedule provide for greater continuity of patient care, it is attractive tool for recruiting nurses. The hospital is seeking the right to discontinue flextime with eight weeks notice, should the nursing shortage end. This would disrupt the lives of nurses and would lead to even more resignations.
Refusal to Work Overtime
St. Catherine's RNs were the first in the nation to officially refuse to volunteer for overtime last month. Under a ruling by the National Labor Relations Board, a union can call for such a concerted action if it serves a 10-day notice.
Nurses Are Exercising Their Rights
This is a time when our nation is recognizing the crucial role of all who serve the public, especially in health care. It is now more important than ever that our health care system be able to respond to emergencies and provide the necessary care.
Yet the Medical Center continues to ignore nurses' concerns about regular, safe staffing.
In the United States, when employees believe their concerns are not being addressed they have a legally protected right to take action.
Jan 10, '02
NYSNA is helping the RNs find other employment, arrange for insurance, etc
St. Catherine of Siena Strike: Resources for Strikers
NYSNA is working to help RNs who had received tentative work schedules prior to the strike, with approval to use personal, sick, holiday, or vacation time that have not been paid. We are helping the National Labor Relations Board collect information so that we can file a charge against the hospital. We urge you to call Emily Cabrera at the NRLB: 718.330.7727. We want to make sure you receive what you are owed.
The single most important thing you can do during a strike is find work elsewhere.
Brunswick Hospital is in great need of critical care nurses. They closed CCU this week because they could not staff it. They are hiring at $35./hr., per diem. Contact Sidney Ramauth: 631.789.7212.
Winthrop hospital in Mineola needs O.R. nurses. Contact Grace Rowans if interested. # (516) 663 2041
If you are interested in temporary work at Westchester Medical Center, contact the Excel Agency: 914.962.6204. You can also contact nurse recruiter Eileen Letzeiser, who is a NYSNA collective bargaining member at that facility, at 914.493.2731.
Interim Healthcare is looking for nurses to work in telemetry at Central Suffolk Hospital, Riverhead. Available shifts: 7:00 A.M. to 7:00 P.M., and 7:00 P.M. to 7:00 A.M. Call Judy or Ellen: 631.689.8920.
Details and Instructions for:
Appeal Unemployment Insurance Denial
Emergency Funds Available
What to do about your mortgage
Filing for Unemployment Insurance
Child Health Plus
and personal items
Last edit by -jt on Jan 11, '02
Jan 10, '02
Directions to strike line:
St. Catherine's nurses are on the strike line every day from 7:00 A.M. until 4:30 P.M. Effective January 2, 2002, strike line hours are 11:00 A.M. - 3:00 P.M. daily, and Mondays and Wednesdays from 11:00 A.M. - 3:00 P.M. and 7:30 P.M. - 8:30 P.M.
The RNs would like nothing better than to have company. The line is at the foot of the hill, at the entrance to the hospital at 50 St. Johnland Road (Route 25A) in Smithtown. If you plan to walk the line, take note of the weather forecast, and dress accordingly.
or Call for details:
NYSNA Strike Hotline: 1.800.724.NYRN, ext. 287
Last edit by -jt on Jan 11, '02
Jan 29, '02
<<St. Catherine's RN Strike Passes 2 Months
NYSNA nurses at St. Catherine of Siena Medical Center have now been on strike for 70 days, with little movement by management at the negotiating table. RNs remain committed to a staffing policy that protects patients and respects nurses, inlcuding bans on mandatory overtime. Read the latest strike developments on NYSNA's website, www.nysna.org.
Last edit by -jt on Feb 6, '02