The Hicksville Council of Nursing Practitioners, without a contract since June, 1997, held a rally outside the Hicksville High School before the regular meeting of the school board to protest the district's handling of the on-going contract negotiations with their organization.
The council claims that the district is not negotiating in good faith. In particular, they allege that the district recently pulled everything that had previously been agreed upon in negotiations off the table.
"We are asking for a fair contract," said MaryAnn Stachurski, president of the Hicksville Council of Nursing Practitioners. "We want something that is equitable, something that is fair."
The Hicksville Council of Nursing Practitioners consists of the 19 nurses who are responsible for the 14 school buildings in the district, including the parochial schools. According to Stachurski they attend to the needs of 8,500 students and 1,600 staff members. Several key issues embedded in the deadlocked negotiations include the disparity in salaries between the nurses and the faculty and administration of the district and the disparity these respective parties pay towards health insurance.
"We want salaries to be brought up to the median of Nassau County or to the median in our surrounding areas," said Stachurski.
The school district would not discuss the specifics of the ongoing negotiations, as a matter of policy, but school attorney Gary Steffanetta of Guercio & Guercio & Guercio in Farmingdale, made a statement that the parties will continue to meet to negotiate for a successful agreement.
"The parties agreement consists of eight pages, and the board was presented with over 20 pages of proposals from the nurses unit to change virtually every paragraph in the current agreement," said Steffanetta.
He also stated that the district "is having difficulty scheduling additional sessions with the nurses unit because they have been unilaterally canceled by the nurses unit."
"We are one of the lowest-paid employees that the district has," said Stachurski. "We are professional nurses with educations, and we feel we should be compensated for the valuable service we provide to the district."