CT Nurses Picket over Move to 403(b)

November 1, 2011 (PLANSPONSOR.com) – Nurses from MidState Medical Center in Connecticut picketed outside the hospital last week to protest a plan to freeze their pension plan and alleged inequities in their pay scale.

The Meriden (CT) Record-Journal reports that union President Barbara Simonetta said MidState is hoping to convert employees from defined pension plans to 403(b) plans. There are 340 nurses who are members of the Connecticut Health Care Associates, a division of the National Union of Hospital and Health Care Employees, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.   

The union has been in negotiations for a new three-year contract with MidState for several months, but the two sides were unable to reach an agreement before the contract expired September 30. According to the Record-Journal, employees who have been working under a defined pension plan would still receive the pension payments once they retire, but would begin contributing to the 403(b) once a new contract is agreed upon.  

“We feel that we work very hard, and we deserve a pension,” said Simonetta.  

The news report said MidState spokeswoman Pamela Cretella indicated the hospital had no comment. However, earlier last week the hospital issued a statement promising to continue bargaining in good faith until an agreement could be reached.