March Issue
March 04, 2014

Visiting nurses score major contract victory

Author: By Liza Frenette
Source: NYSUT United

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.