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NYSNA Nurses Win New Contract At MVHS St. Elizabeth Medical Center In Utica, Includes Wage Increases ‘To Recruit & Retain More Nurses’ For Safe Staffing

Published Tuesday, May 3, 2022
by NYSNA News
NYSNA Nurses Win New Contract At MVHS St. Elizabeth Medical Center In Utica, Includes Wage Increases ‘To Recruit & Retain More Nurses’ For Safe Staffing

(UTICA, NEW YORK) - New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA)-represented Nurses have ratified a new contract with the Mohawk Valley Health System (MVHS) at the St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Utica. 

The contract includes no givebacks and significant wage increases that Nurses hope will improve staffing and quality care at the facility, their Union said.  

Nurses voted 96% in favor of the new contract, which expires in 2024. 

“This new contract is a win for Nurses and patients in Utica,” NYSNA Local Bargaining Unit President Sheila Conley, a Registered Nurse (RN), said. “By negotiating a fair contract that respects Front Line Nurses and offers more competitive wages and benefits, we hope to be able to improve staffing to deliver the quality care our community deserves.” 

“This contract is a result of the NYSNA Nurses of St. Elizabeth Medical Center taking a stand for our community and advocating tirelessly for our patients,” NYSNA Local Bargaining Unit Vice President Gary Evans, a RN, said. “I want to congratulate all of my fellow Members for being vocal and demanding respect for our colleagues and patients.” 

NYSNA Nurses had been working under an expired contract since the 2021 Winter COVID-19 surge and Nurse Staffing Levels throughout the hospital fell to new lows during the pandemic, raising concerns about safe patient care.

Nurses spoke out several times for a fair contract to help stem the exodus of experienced Nurses from the facility and to recruit new Nurses.  

Highlights of the new contract include: Wage increases of more than 15% over three years, making St. Elizabeth’s wages more competitive with other New York hospitals: Personal Time Off (PTO) buy-back at 100% up to 100 hours to compensate Nurses who sacrificed their personal time to care for their community throughout the pandemic; Preceptor pay at an additional $2 an hour; a Tuition refund of 100% - up to $8,000; Retroactive pay of $150/month for 2020 and 2021 for Full-Time Employees, pro-rated for Part Time and Per Diem Employees; an Increase in night differential to Staff; and No givebacks. 

Suzanne Barnes - a NYSNA Executive Committee Member who is also a RN, said: “We’re happy MVHS came to the table and considered our proposals for improving our working conditions and patient care conditions.  This contract is a good step towards addressing our main concerns about recruiting and retaining Nurses and providing quality care for our friends, family, and neighbors.” 

NYSNA, which represents more than 42,000 members across the State, is New York’s largest Union and Professional Association for RNs.

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