PHC And Nurses Reach Tentative Contract Agreement
By Miriam Rosenberg
“This Friday [September 16] and Monday [September 19] the nurses will vote and if they ratify it, we have a contract,” said Glenda Newman, a nurse at the hospital and a trustee with the NYSNA’s benefits fund.
While Newman said she could not discuss the specifics of the contract because the membership had not yet seen it, she did say, “The negotiating committee is suggesting ratification by [the nurses]. We’re hopeful.”
The goals by the nurses during the negotiations, according to a press release by the union, were to “improve working conditions and help the hospital recruit and retain nursing staff.” The Wave asked Newman if she felt these goals were met.
“I hope so,” she said with a bit of uncertainty in her voice. “Certainly there were advances made to that end…safer for patients and nurses. Only time will tell.”
Liz Sulik, the Director of External Affairs for the hospital, issued a statement to The Wave.
“We are very pleased that the contract negotiations with the New York State Nurses Association were successful particularly in view of the fiscal challenges all hospitals are facing today,” Sulik said. “We have great respect for our excellent nursing staff and appreciate all of their hard work and dedication to Peninsula Hospital Center and the Rockaway community.”
The negotiations seemed to be at an impasse following the last negotiating session on August 30. At that time, Newman told The Wave that although nurses at the hospital were frustrated with the unproductive talks, they did not want to strike.
The registered nurses at Peninsula, who had been working without a contract since their previous one expired on April 30, 2004, voted to authorize a strike on a July 14 if talks reached the stage where negotiators felt there was no other alternative.
Newman said that depending how the two days of voting goes, an answer on ratification could be known as soon as Friday.