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Local News

June 14, 2007

CVPH health-care professionals voice displeasure over contract proposal

Despite pickets, nurse-hospital agreement called closer

PLATTSBURGH -- Both sides caught in a contract dispute at CVPH Medical Center moved a bit closer to an agreement, but significant differences still need to be ironed out.

Negotiations between management and the New York State Nurses Association, which represents 600 nurses and other health-care professionals at the hospital, stalled in late May after the hospital put what it said was a final offer on the table.

The union did not accept the offer and instead scheduled an informational picket for Wednesday afternoon to bring concerns to the community.

PENSION PLAN

Heated debate has surrounded the hospital's proposed pension plan. Both sides have now agreed to move away from the traditional employer-supported pension to a defined-contribution plan, in which both employer and employee contribute to the employee's retirement package.

"We are willing to discuss this change, but it's just a matter of how much the deduction is," said Janet Strominger, labor-relations representative for the Nurses Association.

"The proposal doesn't even come close to what the employees would have gotten under the old plan. Our membership just isn't ready to accept that."

CONTRIBUTIONS

CVPH is proposing a 3-percent base contribution for all employees, regardless of whether the workers contribute in the plan or not.

Alice Hyde Medical Center in Malone has no base contribution, and Adirondack Medical Center in Saranac Lake/Lake Placid offers a 1-percent base contribution.

CVPH is also offering a 2-percent hospital match, compared to a 3-percent match at Alice Hyde and AMC, with a CVPH employee contribution of 6 percent.

"If you look at the base contribution and the match contribution, it far exceeds anybody in the area," Mundy said. "And if you look at the plan after 20 years, the savings are even greater."

At year 20, the CVPH base contribution rises to 3.5 percent while the hospital match rises to 6 percent from the original 2 percent.

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