Tonawanda News

Local News

February 27, 2013


Tonawanda News — KENMORE — About 100 nurses reported to Kenmore Mercy Hospital Wednesday morning — not to punch in for their jobs — but to stand outside, chant and protest Catholic Health's proposed contract. 

Communications Workers of America, AFL-CIO Local 1133, which represents 270 nurses at the hospital, began negotiations with administrators on the contract in November, and a tentative contract was reached at the end of January. 

But 87 percent of all the nurses voted on the contract Feb. 11, and 94 percent turned it down. Deborah Arnet, a nurse at the hospital, said the contract is not being recommended to CWA members. 

"There is a loss of incentives to stay beyond the shift, or to come in on a day off to help out," Arnet said. "There is no progressive wage step, which results in the loss of $20,000 over the life of a contract."

Lori Meder, a nurse who has been at Kenmore Mercy for 7 1/2 years, echoed Arnet's comments. 

"As it stands, they are getting rid of all those things ... so what are they going to take away next?" said Meder, whose husband has been a nurse at the hospital for 15 years. 

And Vanessa Quinn, an executive board member of the CWA representing the hospital, said the nurses' pension is the worst in the Catholic Health system. 

The nurses, and their families, said the problems aren't just about the money, but come down to the hospital's priorities. 

"Our main beef is that we are worried about chronic short staffing ... with these terms, we won't be able to keep nurses, and patient care will suffer," Arnet said. "If they were running into financial trouble, we'd understand, but they're not. They're building a brand new, multi-million dollar building."

But a statement from the hospital says the changes in the contract are in fact a result of increases in health care costs. 

Text Only
Local News
Featured Ads
Seasonal Content
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Front page
NDN Video
Raw: Israel Bombs Multiple Targets in Gaza Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment Raw: Cargo Craft Undocks From Space Station Widow: Jury Sent Big Tobacco a $23B Message New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts UN Security Council Calls for MH 17 Crash Probe Obama Bestows Medal of Honor on NH Veteran Texas Sending National Guard Troops to Border Hopkins to Pay $190M After Pelvic Exams Taped Foxx Cites Washington 'Circus Mirror' NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong Obama Voices Concern About Casualties in Mideast Diplomacy Intensifies Amid Mounting Gaza Toll AP Exclusive: American Beaten in Israel Speaks Obama Protects Gay, Transgender Workers Raw: Gaza Rescuers Search Rubble for Survivors Raw: International Team Inspects MH17 Bodies Raw: 25 Family Members Killed in Gaza Airstrike US Teen Beaten in Mideast Talks About Ordeal 'Weird Al' Is Wowed by Album's Success