Negotiation Update – September 13, 2016

Our facility has had a very exciting year and with the dedication and commitment of you – our nurses – LIJ Valley Stream is ready to take on the challenges ahead of us. We solidified our place within Northwell Health’s central region and achieved significant increases in our quality of care scores. Together, we have an opportunity to be the premier community hospital in the central region. The nurses here at LIJ Valley Stream show their professionalism each and every day toward every patient, and for that we thank you.

You are all aware that we began negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement with the New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA) on June 13, 2016. We are excited to work with NYSNA to reach a fair and equitable contract and together make the changes necessary for our future growth and success.

While we are only in the beginning stages of bargaining, the two parties have met on five occasions and through amicable discussion we reached agreement on several proposals. Our goal is to have a tentative agreement for you to vote on before the December 31, 2016, expiration of the current contract. We firmly believe that taking care of you, our nurses, puts you in the best position to take care of our patients. That guiding principle is in our mind throughout these negotiations.

Two of the major issues we are discussing are your health benefits and pensions. Both LIJ Valley Stream and NYSNA proposed changes in these areas, and it is clear that both parties are committed to ensuring your continued entitlement to these benefits. However, there is a difference of opinion as to the best way to do that.

An ongoing concern of ours is ensuring that all of our nurses have access to high-quality care for your own medical needs and ample retirement benefits for your post-work lives. To that end, we provided NYSNA with proposals on these issues at Friday’s negotiation session. We proposed a valuable retirement benefit, under which you are immediately vested in your employee contributions. More importantly, it is a retirement benefit that will not disappear, as the current plan does today, if you choose within a few years to grow your career in another Northwell Health facility or outside of this organization.

The employees at LIJ Valley Stream and throughout Northwell Health provide world-class care to our patients. Our proposal on health benefits recognizes the confidence we have in the care our organization provides and maximizes the benefit of using Northwell Health facilities. In addition, our health plans offer cost-saving incentives that promote employee wellness. As the nature of health care continues to change, we do not want to continue increasing our employees’ cost toward their own health insurance, but rather provide incentives to use Northwell Health’s exemplary services.

We will present more details about our retirement benefits and health insurance proposals to NYSNA at an upcoming negotiation session, and look forward to having a constructive dialog about these key areas as we continue the negotiation process.

Thank you for your time and interest in these negotiations.  Please continue to check your email and this site for updates and other information about our collective bargaining with NYSNA.