NYSNA members held a day of action on March 2nd, the same day that the public sector contract expired for 9,000 H+H/Mayorals nurses, to speak out about the short-staffing crisis that puts public hospital patients at risk. The day of action kicked off with a noon rally and speakout at Lincoln Hospital and followed with evening vigils at Lincoln, Bellevue, Harlem, Jacobi, Coney Island, Kings County, Queens, and Elmhurst. Nurses throughout the public system wore their red scrubs in solidarity for a fair contract.
Public sector nurses, who staff New York City’s public hospitals and mayorals agencies, are demanding that the city live up to its agreement on pay parity with the private sector to stop the bleed of nurses from public hospitals that has created a crisis of understaffing harming NYC’s most vulnerable patients.
Nurses were joined by labor, community and elected allies, including State Senators John Liu and Nathalia Fernandez, Assembly Members Monique Chandler-Waterman, Brian Cunningham, Edward Gibbs, Al Taylor, Steven Raga, John Zaccaro and Kenny Burgos, City Council Members Farah Louis, Kevin Riley, and Sandra Ung, Bronx Borough President Vanessa Gibson, Committee of Interns and Residents (CIR/SEIU), and Doctors Council SEIU.
Elected officials who could not make it in person showed their support on social media throughout the day of action. Check out NYSNA’s social media accounts, especially Twitter, to see the solidarity public sector members are building.
28-year-veteran Lincoln Hospital nurse and President of NYSNA’s NYC Health+Hospitals/Mayorals Executive Council, Sonia Lawrence, RN said: “I see how patients are suffering, waiting hours for care because there are not enough nurses and other essential care givers to treat our patients in a timely manner. We cannot have health equity for our public hospital patients without pay equity to keep nurses at the bedside.”
NYC’s public sector nurses are mobilizing on the heels of a strike victory for private sector nurses, who won groundbreaking contracts that improved staffing and included 19.9 percent pay increases. With new raises for private sector nurses, the pay disparity for newly graduated nurses in the public sector will be over $19,000 per year. NYC’s public health facilities serve mostly Black and brown and immigrant New Yorkers and are staffed by mostly Black and brown and immigrant nurses. Pay parity is an issue of health and racial equity for New York City.
More photos from the day of action are on NYSNA’s Facebook page.