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The New York Professional Nurses Union ‘Achieves Major Gains for Patients and Practitioners in New Three-Year Contract’ With Northwell Health

Published Monday, November 8, 2021
by Labor News Services
The New York Professional Nurses Union ‘Achieves Major Gains for Patients and Practitioners in New Three-Year Contract’ With Northwell Health

(NEW HYDE PARK, NEW YORK) - Nurses and Nurse Practitioners represented by the New York Professional Nurses Union (NYPNU) have voted overwhelmingly to ratify a new three-year contract with Northwell Health, following nearly two months of negotiation, a 10-day Strike Authorization Vote and informational picket.

Northwell Health and the NYPNU agreed on terms of a $50 million contract expansion affecting 1,500 Nurses.  Northwell Health is New York's largest health care provider, with 23 hospitals and more than 76,000 employees.

The three-year agreement covers Nurses in Northwell Health institutions across New York City, including Lenox Hill Hospital, Manhattan Eye, Ear & Throat Hospital and Lenox Hill Greenwich Village.

The Nurses’ Union won the most significant wage increase achieved in the last decade for every Nurse, Nurse Practitioner and Per Diem Worker at Lenox Hill Hospital, Manhattan Eye, Ear, and Throat Hospital, and Lenox Health Greenwich Village.

NYPNU also successfully negotiated for accountability on safe staffing, providing for a process by which Nurses can begin an arbitration process if Patient-to-Staff ratios fall too low.  Through this new contract, Northwell Health must provide Temporary and Per Diem Workers when there are vacancies to help care for patients.

“When we started these negotiations, our primary focus was making sure that Northwell Health heard our concerns about alarming patterns in understaffing and took steps to protect the health and safety of our patients,” NYPNU Executive Board Member Emily Bautista said. “We are happy to now have Northwell Health’s commitment to fill vacancies with Temporary and Per Diem Workers and to introduce needed visibility and accountability.  Having enforceable language in the contract will allow us to take action on behalf of our patients if we see staffing levels fall too low again.”

The raises for Nurses, which average more than 5.5% for nearly every Nurse for every year of three-year contract, will bring Northwell Health Nurses in line with what other Manhattan facilities are paying for similar experience and responsibilities.

“We are very proud of the contract that our Members won through collective action and persistence,” NYPNU President Kathleen Flynn said. “All of our Members will finally be compensated fairly for their hard work comparable to other Nurses working in Manhattan - a long overdue and much deserved change.  Looking forward, when we go back to the bargaining table in three years, we will be in an even stronger position to continue our advocacy and the patients we serve.”

Other gains in the new contract include: Fixing the Sick Time Disciplinary Process - Nurses can now use the first 40 hours of their sick time without triggering the attendance disciplinary policy; Sick Time for Per Diems - Per Diems will now be able to accrue sick time based on the number of hours regularly worked; Protections for Victims of Domestic Violence and Assault - Members will now be able to use their sick time in the unfortunate event that the Member or their family members are victims of domestic violence, assault, or human trafficking; Obligation to fill vacancies.  Management must fill any type of vacancy with agency/travelers or pre-scheduled per diem coverage where there are leaves of absences and while new hires orient; Data and Enforcement - Management must provide data of all open positions to NYPNU and Members may immediately grieve and arbitrate any violations; More robust staffing - a Staff RN is provided as charge when an Assistant Nurse Manager (ANM) is covering two or more units or when the ANM is off the unit for a significant amount of time; and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Licensure Reimbursement - Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants will now be reimbursed for all DEA licensures required for their position.

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