Step Back in Time features news items from The Daily Star 25 and 50 years ago.

25 years ago

Oct. 5, 1994

After four months of contract negotiations, registered nurses and A.O. Fox Memorial Hospital have finally reached an agreement.

The nurses, represented by the New York State Nurses Association, voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to ratify a tentative agreement reached last week by the hospital and the union.

Contract talks, which began June 9, had faltered over the issues of scheduling, pay and layoff protection. The nurses’ contract expired June 30 and the approximately 150 RNs represented by the union have been working under an extension during the negotiations.

Under the terms of the new contract, the hospital will pay rate increases to the nurses of 1 percent the first year, 1 percent at the start of the second year and an additional half-percent midway through the second year of the contract. Pay raises will be retroactive to July 1.

The hospital and nurses compromised on the question of a central scheduling system. According to union spokesman Barry Waldman, hospital administrators will still use a central scheduling system to outline a master schedule, but each floor and unit will have the ability to make changes. The compromise allows nurses to have more flexibility and scheduling input, Waldman said.

Though the nurses were hoping to strengthen the layoff protection language with the new contract, the language will remain the same.

According to Keith Valk, director of human resources at Fox, the current seniority and layoff language in the contract specifies a bumping system that the hospital has to follow in the event of layoffs. The hospital had not proposed diluting that language, Valk said.

Both sides expressed pleasure at finally reaching an agreement.

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