The following letter is in response to a letter from the North Shore University Hospital at Plainview sent to residents in communities throughout Nassau County .
Debbie Tascone, RN and the management at North Shore University Hospital at Plainview would have you believe that the hospital had no problem with staffing before this strike and that, with its regular registered nurses now not working, care has not been disrupted.
The fact is that the hospital has hired an agency that specializes in strike breaking to bring in temporary replacement RNs from all over the nation. Hospital management has not had the time nor means to individually interview and evaluate the skills of all these temporary replacements. They took what they could get. Now we hear that two of these nurses were dismissed because of patient care errors.
It is out of concern for our patients that we went on strike. We want to see RN-to-patient staffing ratios guaranteed in our next contract. Our colleagues in other area facilities represented by NYSNA have recently negotiated language in their contracts that either establishes minimum staffing standards or creates a committee to establish such standards.
However, the committee proposed by North Shore management is made up of three management-designated members and only two bargaining-unit RNs. We are only seeking a committee that is balanced and equitable and has the ability to establish minimum staffing levels that will be adhered to by the hospital.
Hospital management has not been negotiating with us in good faith, and has subjected these negotiations to one delay after another. This is why we've been without a contract for more than a year.
Remember: Registered nurses are responsible for the quality care that North Shore-Plainview patients receive. Ms. Tascone, RN, is quick to point out that the hospital was reviewed by the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations and received a score of 99 out of 100, with commendation. What she fails to mention is that this score was received due to the hard work and dedication of the RNs currently walking the picket line, not with the scab replacement workers who have no ties or interest in our community.
NYSNA Negotiating Committee at North Shore-Plainview:
Christine Souliere, RN, chair
Joanne DiProperzio, RN, co-chair
Sherry Bloom, RN, grievance chair
Lorraine Anderson, RN, membership chair
Anthony Encizo, RN, secretary