RNs Win 20% Increase In Salary
POUGHKEEPSIE, May 29, 2003-A new contract between the New York State Nurses Association and Vassar Brothers Medical Center in upstate New York is expected to help retain and recruit RNs. Registered Nurses at Vassar Brothers Medical Center will receive a 20% salary increase over the next three years, raising base starting salaries from their current $44,408 to $51,313 by May 1, 2005.
This puts Vassar Brothers in a leading position in the RN job market in the mid-Hudson Valley. RNs will see an immediate salary increase of 7%, and increases of 6.5% each on May 1, 2004 and 2005. The salary increases are part of a package intended to help the medical center retain qualified RNs and recruit new hires into nursing.
The nurses' new contract, approved on May 12, will run through April 30, 2006. The 635 RNs are represented by the New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA).
For the first time, these RNs will have a formal scale to recognize experience. Prior to this, experience rates differed from nurse to nurse. Negotiators have made provisions so that no nurse will lose any salary as a result of the establishment of the scale. RNs with 30 to 34 years of service will also be entitled to a longevity bonus of $2,000 each year, while RNs with 35 or more years with experience will receive $3,000 each year.
The new contract also establishes a bonus for referring RNs for employment: $1,000 for a full-time day or evening position and $2,000 for a full-time night position.
The nurses also won increases in additional pay for working the evening and night shifts, working temporarily in a higher job classification, earning certifications in their specialized fields, earning college degrees, and being on-call. In addition, RNs working three 12-hour shifts for a total of 36 hours per week will be treated as 40-hour employees when determining eligibility for benefits.
"We won improvements because Vassar Brothers understood that it needed to do more to recruit and retain Registered Nurses," said William Conley, NYSNA labor representative. "Both parties recognized that their relationship had been stressed in the past and decided to start anew in working together to solve problems. We hope it's the first step to a productive relationship."
NYSNA, with more than 34,000 members, is New York's largest union and professional association for Registered Nurses. NYSNA is the only organization that exclusively represents the interests of New York State's RNs, and is recognized nationwide as a trendsetter in improving RNs' wages and working conditions. NYSNA works to advance the nursing profession through collective bargaining and legislative activities, and fosters high standards of nursing education and practice. It is a constituent of the American Nurses Association and its labor arm, the United American Nurses, an affiliate of the AFL-CIO.