Visiting nurses in New York City will begin receiving raises next month, thanks to hard-fought negotiations by their union, the Federation of Nurses/United Federation of Teachers, with the mammoth Visiting Nurse Service of New York (VNS).
VNS is the nation’s oldest and largest not-for-profit home health care agency. “We could only hold back a corporation of this magnitude by being in a powerful union,” said Anne Goldman, special nursing representative to the UFT and chair of NYSUT’s Health Care Professionals Council.
The new contract calls for a 2 percent raise in April and another 2 percent raise in January 2015 for registered nurses. Goldman said 1,200 nurses showed up to vote after receiving only four hours’ notice. “The turnout was incredible.”
For the first time, per diem visiting nurses will be compensated if they make a home visit and the patient is not there, and for telephone care management. They also will receive a pay raise.
The local staved off a planned strike and held off demands for a tiered pension and contribution to health insurance costs. The local lost 275 visiting nurses in a mid-December layoff when VNS of New York was suspended from the Medicaid Long Term Care Program for improperly enrolling patients. The UFT has been providing assistance to those laid off nurses.