Dozens of Nurses were on the picket line Wednesday in Plattsburgh. The ranks of the so called informational pickets swelled as work shifts ended and members of the New York State Nurses Association joined in the protest. The hospital offered the union a one year contract but members rejected it, saying they wanted one for three years.
Mark Genovese is a member of the Nurses Union: "The nurses had asked management for a longer contract because you want to lock in your benefits... they want security for their families as well."
Stephens Mundy is President of CVPH: "We were intending to negotiate the contract for one year now and to do the three year by the end of the year. "
The contract ended last December 31st. Employees have been working under the old contract since then. Employees say the wages at CVPH are not competitive with other area hospitals.
Jennifer Kanaly, a CVPH Nurse spoke to Jack LaDuke: "Our wages are not competitive with other area hospitals. We would like to get to that point so we can get nurses to come to our hospital and stay."
Stephens Mundy countered: "We are the highest in the number of steps, highest in the top end for experienced nurses. We are within nickels for years of service and that's on just one hospital."
Mundy said their contract offers more than all other hospitals in the area. He said that negotiating a three year contract is definitely in the cards.
Hospital officials say nurses now start around 50 thousand dollars a year with overtime. The union indicates pay increases are not huge issue, but the longer contract is one of their top demands. Late today, the hospital suggested a return to contract talks in May, the union is considering that.
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