Spin Cycle

News, views and commentary on Long Island, state and national politics.

The board of directors of the Nassau Health Care Corporation officially approved a new six-year labor contract with the Civil Service Employees Association that provides job protection for workers and gives the hospital the ability to better control health insurance costs.

The deal, agreed to last month by the union and management at Nassau University Medical Center, was unanimously approved by the NuHealth Board at a meeting on Thursday night. NuHealth is a public benefit corporation that includes NUMC in East Meadow, A. Holly Patterson Extended Care Facility in Uniondale and five community health care centers.

“Almost 95 percent of our members voted in favor of a contract that was lean in dollars, but gave them on-the-job protection, because we all have the common goal of making sure it remains open and eventually becomes the number one hospital in the region,” said CSEA president Jerry Laricchiuta.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Arthur Gianelli, chief executive of NUHealth, said: “I am gratified that management and labor were able to reach a fair, progressive, and in some respects pathbreaking agreement. The agreement trades job security for very modest wage appreciation, creates financial incentives for employee performance, and fundamentally changes health benefits, particularly for future employees.”

Under the deal, CSEA employees receive no retroactive pay increase for 2010 through 2012. In 2013 and 2014, full-time employees will get a $750 cash payment; part-time workers will receive $325. In 2015, the contract's final year, employees will get a 4 percent increase.

Management also promised no more layoffs unless the state eliminates beds or programs. Between the end of 2011 and spring of 2012, 350 employees were laid off or offered early retirement.

NuHealth received concessions on health insurance it deemed important for future financial stability: New employees must be vested for 20 years, not five years as they are now, before receiving free health care upon retiring. And new employees must pay a larger percentage toward their health care if they decide not to opt for NuHealth’s own health insurance plan.

Current employees would not see a change to their health insurance. The existing plan requires employees to contribute 15 percent to their health insurance for the first five years and nothing afterward.

advertisement | advertise on newsday