Friday, 31 July 2009 00:00
Hundreds of Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA) Nassau Local 830 members rallied at the corner of Hempstead Turnpike and Carman Avenue last week in protest of what they allege to be dangerous policies within Nassau University Medical Center’s (NUMC) administrative staff.
Union officials and members have had a 12-foot inflatable rat out in front of NUMC since July 17; it will continue the week of July 27. The rat symbolizes a bully management team that shows no respect for employees.
CSEA believes a number of acts by the Nassau Health Care Corporation’s (NHCC) administration are endangering the welfare of both the patients and employees of NUMC. They allege that there are numerous instances of understaffing across the hospital in areas such as nursing, intensive care unit and psychiatric ward. Since June 7, nurses have been working five 8-hour shifts per week, rather than the industry standard of three 12-hour shifts. Nurses are required 12 hours between shifts according to the Collective Bargaining Agreement between CSEA and the NHCC. Union officials, however, believe that concept is being violated.
“Management is creating a situation where patient care could be endangered. Morale is as low as it has ever been here. Nurses aren’t getting sufficient time between shifts, and are being asked to work in areas where they may not be properly trained. That could be putting their licenses at risk,” said CSEA Local 830 President Jerry Laricchiuta.
Furthermore, CSEA alleges that NUMC is violating a law passed July 1, which makes it illegal for nurses to be mandated overtime. “…We need this administration to start abiding by the law and the current collective bargaining agreement,” said Laricchiuta. “Otherwise, patient care, as well as our members will continue to suffer.”
NUMC would not comment on CSEA’s specific workplace allegations, but issued the following statement in response to the union’s July 17 demonstration: “The timing of the placement of the rat - the final day of a very important Joint Commission survey - speaks volumes about the union. It says, basically, that this union works in opposition to - and in fact undermines - the success of the corporation. Fortunately, the corporation will succeed in spite of their juvenile behavior,” said Arthur A. Gianelli, president/CEO of the NHCC.
CSEA Nassau Local 830 represents 3,400 members at the NHCC, which is made up of NUMC, A. Holly Patterson Extended Care Facility and several outlying clinics. Local 830 is Nassau’s largest union with a total of 10,000 members.