We are moving forward in significant ways and on many fronts in our New York City contract campaign. And on April 16, at 11 hospitals, our rallies will help to further inform the many communities we serve that staffing shortfalls in the hospitals are serious and on-going and that our call upon management to step up and fully address these crisis conditions continues. Safe patient care is on the line.
At the March 18 Multi-Employer bargaining session 14 nurses testified about the staffing crisis in their units. These compelling accounts of real issues affecting hospitals — right now — held the attention of all at the large session. “I am scrambling,” said Michelle Gonzalez, an RN at Montefiore. “Safe staffing is really the key to providing everyone with better healthcare.” Gonzalez’s descriptions — of nurses overloaded with patients on a daily basis — were echoed in the other testimonies presented that day.
Our staffing campaign and bargaining are showing results. Members are reporting that the hospitals are hiring more staff. We have also seen an increase in the number of positions posted. But these increases are uneven.
NYSNA wins demand for mediation
Management has met our demand for mediation and a time frame has been set and mediator selected. Mediation will begin the week of April 20 and will continue through May 31. The Director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, Allison Beck, has agreed to mediate our contract negotiations.
Beck’s involvement reflects the seriousness of the negotiation, the importance of our hospitals and the essential work that we do. On the agenda: staffing, economics, and our proposals to protect our profession. Our goal is to reach a full agreement by the end of May.
A skilled mediator can help resolve many issues. But we must continue to insist that management address safe staffing and the changing healthcare landscape.
A number of local agreements reached
We made some headway elsewhere. NYSNA negotiating committees were able to reach some agreements specific to the local bargaining units and to make presentations on many others. These proposals will not be the focus of mediation, however, they are important locally and committees pushed for resolution on the issues. Management gave a number of counter-proposals and committees will continue to work towards agreements on outstanding local proposals.