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Brooklyn Hospital nurses reach new deal

STEPHON JOHNSON Amsterdam News Staff | 9/21/2011, 4:30 p.m.

Nurses at the Brooklyn Hospital Center have reached a new contract that avoids a potential strike.

Last Tuesday, 500 registered nurses of the New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA) ratified an agreement with Brooklyn Hospital Center management that centers on a three-year contract that runs from September 2011 to September 2014. In the new agreement, a 2 percent salary increase across the board awaits nurses in July 2012, followed by a $500 lump sum bonus in April 2013 and a another across the board salary increase of 3 percent in January 2014.

As part of the agreement, nurses will contribute to their health insurance premiums, but will be upgraded to the NYSNA Benefit Fund's top-tier plan in January 2014. The current pension plan remains, but when the new contract expires, the nurses will be granted an increase of one step and resume their normal step progression.

According to the NYSNA, the contract acknowledges the hospital's distressed financial situation but provides nurses with the ability to support their families and maintain their quality of life. The agreement ends the possibility of a strike by the nurses and was reached just days after the NYSNA, which represents the nurses at Brooklyn Hospital Center, presented the hospital with a strike notice.

"Thanks to the nurses' willingness to stand up for themselves, we were able to negotiate a fair contract," said Roberta Murphy, MS, RN, associate director of the NYSNA Economic and General Welfare Program. "We are pleased to have averted the possibility of a strike and to be able to return fully to the business of caring for our patients."

The hospital seems satisfied with the agreement as well. "We are very pleased to have reached a mutually beneficial agreement that provides our nurses with a highly competitive compensation and benefits package while maintaining the fiscal responsibility that is vital for the hospital's future," said Dr. Richard Becker, president and CEO of Brooklyn Hospital Center. "Our nursing staff provides exceptional care for our patients, and we are grateful for their ongoing support and commitment."

The NYSNA has 37,000 members and represents registered nurses in New York and New Jersey.