Chaffee and Richmond Nurses Approve New Contract

September 27, 2013 Updated Mar 27, 2012 at 5:00 PM EDT

By WKBW News

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Chaffee and Richmond Nurses Approve New Contract

September 27, 2013 Updated Mar 27, 2012 at 5:00 PM EDT

Springville, N.Y. (WKBW release) -- Registered professional nurses at Bertrand Chaffee Hospital and Jennie B. Richmond Nursing Home – members of New York State Nurses Association – have ratified a new three-year agreement.

According to a news release issued Tuesday:

The new labor accord, approved on March 22, improves wages, adds differential pay for nurses holding bachelor’s degrees and national certifications, and calls for regular labor-management meetings. Union nurses here also agreed to temporarily suspend current benefit levels in an effort to help the hospital contain cost and gain strength as it emerges from tough economic times.

“Hospitals and nursing homes across New York state, especially those in small markets and rural areas, are struggling for their very existence – often having to reduce services and eliminate jobs in order to stay afloat,” said Nils Gunnersen, CEO of Bertrand Chaffee Hospital and Jennie B. Richmond Nursing home. “We are thankful for the cooperation we received from NYSNA leadership and delegates, creating a negotiating environment that allowed for a creative solution. This collaborative effort will preserve much-needed services and jobs for our community.”

Jeanne May, RN, a Nurses Association negotiating committee member, called the new contract “a fair agreement” that allows nurses to focus their attention on continuing to provide the highest quality of care to patients. “It was hard bargaining from the beginning, but in the end, both sides agreed to compromise and work together to strengthen the hospital and home,” she said.

“Nurses here were challenged with holding onto hard-fought gains and standards while dealing with the reality of the current economic climate,” said Michael Farrell, chief negotiator for the union. “Both sides agreed to partner for success and to work in harmony in an effort to preserve local hospital and skilled nursing services for the surrounding community. The Nurses Association looks forward to strengthening labor relations while continuing to protect patient care. This agreement demonstrates Chaffee’s commitment to maintaining the highest standards of care while respecting the work of our members.”