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In Saranac Lake, nurses call for fair wages, benefits

The hospital also wants nurses to begin contributing what amounts to about $20 per month to health insurance benefits.

But Mark Genovese of the nurses association says the union opposes increases to health contributions mainly because nurses are exposed to a variety of health-related threats.

Overall, these contract negotiations have been amicable on both sides - in other words, this is not the state of Wisconsin versus public employees.

In fact, Riccio says having nurses outside picketing is actually a good thing.

"We encourage an open dialogue for all of our employees here at AMC, and I think this informational picket is a great example of the nurses engaging in that dialogue, and we respect that," he said.

Both sides realize that more than just equitable pay is at stake here.

Ultimately, union reps and hospital administration agree that a meaningful contract helps hold up a fragile economy and keeps jobs in the North Country.

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