The New York Nurses Association (NYSNA) says they still plan on striking this Monday, Jan. 9, after negotiations with hospitals have fallen through, the organization revealed.
NYSNA President Nancy Hagans charged Wednesday that approximately 16,000 NYSNA nurses at eight hospitals including: New York Presbyterian, Montefiore, Mount Sinai Hospital, Mount Sinai Morningside and West, Maimonides, BronxCare, Richmond University Medical Center, and Flushing Hospital Medical Center are ready to strike next week. This came after the union delivered a 10-day notice of the strike on Dec. 30.
“Unfortunately, after months of negotiation, our bosses have given us no other option than to exercise our right to strike,” Hagans began. “A 10-day notice gives hospitals time to plan care for patients while nurses are on strike. But the best way for management to protect patients is to listen to nurses and settle a fair contract and protect our patients.”
The striking threat comes as a result of a drum that nurses have been banging for years now, the most notable of which is safe staffing (a ratio of one to two nurses in ICU and one to four in med-surg). Healthcare workers state that they have a far larger patient load than they can bear, something they state puts patients at risk.
Additionally, since the COVID-19 pandemic nurses underscore that they have been on the front lines bearing the brunt of the disease both mentally and physically. They cite suffering from long COVID, as well as the trauma induced by the deadly virus has left them exhausted. With this in mind, NYSNA calls treatment from hospital management nothing short of disrespectful.
“We are in the midst of a nursing staffing crisis that employers created and have failed to address which has gotten worse since the pandemic began. Chronic understaffing in New York hospitals is unsafe for nurses and our patients. Our bosses created a short staffing crisis by failing to hire and return enough nurses at our facilities, leaving the rest of us to work short staffed. Hospitals have not done enough to keep nurses at the bedside. Nurses have been to hell risking our lives to save lives of our patient,” Hagans said.
While the strike is set to take place next week, one hospital is pushing to make a change. Hagans congratulated New York Presbyterian Hospital, which includes 4,000 NYSNA nurses, after reaching a tentative agreement on Dec. 31, hours before their contract expired. This agreement includes better staffing ratios in the emergency room. It is now up to the nurses to vote on whether they will ratify the new contract.
“NYSNA urges the other hospitals to follow New York Presbyterian’s lead and negotiate in good faith for fair contract that respects nurses and patients by delivering safe staffing and fair wages and benefits,” Hagans said.
Hagans claims that many New York hospitals have participated in unfair and unlawful behavior by attempting to silence nurses from discussing the need of staff staffing with the media, bargaining in bad faith, threatening Registered Nurses (RNs) who’ve come forward with their grievances, and interfering with union rights. Demands regarding the new contract—which will cover the next three years—must include fair wages to recruit, nurse retention, stop the cuts on benefits, safety protection, community benefits, local training and more, the union stresses.
The NYSNA state they will provide daily updates on the process as the date of the strike draws closer.
In regard to the ongoing contract negotiations, Joe Solmonese the Senior Vice President at Montefiore released the following statement calling the hospital’s offer generous.