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Nurses At St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center Reach Deal To Avert Strike

(credit: Clipart.com)

(credit: Clipart.com)

NEW YORK (AP) — Negotiators for 1,300 nurses at a private New York City hospital have reached a tentative deal on a four-year contract to avert a threatened strike next week, while negotiations continue at two other hospitals where nurses have worked without contracts for the past year, officials said Tuesday.

Continuum Health Partners Communities and the New York State Nurses Association announced the deal a week before the nurses at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center in Manhattan had planned to strike.

If the contract is ratified at a Jan. 4 vote, nurses will receive annual increases totaling 8 percent along with a $1,500 one-time payment when the contract is signed. They also will receive annual bonuses to reimburse them in part for their newly required contributions to the health plan.

The deal comes as negotiations appear to be near a settlement as well at Mount Sinai, a Manhattan hospital with about 2,000 nurses.

“Both sides are hopeful that they are going to be able to move closer to the goal line in those talks,” said Bernie Mulligan, a spokesman for the nurses union. He said negotiations were continuing late Tuesday.

A deal did not seem as near at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, where another 2,000 nurses are locked in a dispute over staffing levels, though talks continue.

Nurses at all three hospitals have been working without a contract since December 2010.

Continuum President Stanley Brezenoff said in a note to St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center that the deal was reached Monday night.

“All of our strike contingency plans have been canceled,” he said. “Most importantly, we have addressed our nurses’ chief concerns while still remaining within (the hospital’s) economic means.”

Mulligan said the nurses at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital believe they’ve made progress on all of their major concerns, including affordable health care, relief from high prescription costs, safe patient staffing levels and fair wages.

Mulligan said health care had remained a major concern of the nurses, many of whom had not had to pay anything toward the cost of health benefits in the past. Now, they will be required to pay a portion of the cost of benefits in the same way employees at other companies have had to contribute.

“They’re in the front lines of health care in America dealing with disease and illness every day on the job, so for them they really value affordable quality health care,” he said. “They’re living in one of the most expensive regions in the world.”

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