Victory! Erie County Medical Center Nurses Reach New Contract!

On Monday, July 17, NYSNA nurses at Erie County Medical Center (ECMC) and Terrace View Long-Term Care ratified a new contract by an overwhelming majority. The agreement comes after months of nurses holding press conferences and amplifying their issues on social media to build public awareness of the workplace safety and staffing conditions they faced.

Nurses at Western New York’s largest public and safety net hospital have stayed firm in their demands to address workplace safety concerns and safe staffing concerns. Highlights of the new contract include: 

  • Wage increases of over 23% over the life of the contract
  • Workplace safety measures such as the installation of weapons screening technology at all public hospital entrances
  • Extra pay whenever the hospital does not meet contractual staffing ratios to improve safe staffing levels
  • A nurse apprenticeship program with up to $3,000 offered per semester for apprentice candidates 

ECMC nurses have been persistent throughout this contract campaign and highlighted workplace safety issues. In early December, nurses marched on the boss to speak to management about a staffing plan in the comprehensive psychiatric emergency program units. NYSNA nurses captured the conversations with management on video and shared it on TikTok, where it has amassed widespread solidarity online and featured in ABC Buffalo. The video prompted state health department to investigate staffing concerns at the ECMC psychiatric emergency units.

In June 2023, ECMC brought further concerns for a safe place to work to the media. After learning of a break-in that took place in the employee parking, Emilee Russel, RN, who works in ECMC’s Emergency Department, spoke to WIVB Channel 4 about how dangerous workplace conditions negatively impact recruitment and retention of nurses and contribute to a staffing shortage.

Nurses’ contract victory was widely covered in the press, including in Spectrum News, WGRZ- NBC 2 and WIBV 4.

This is a great victory for nurses and patients in Western New York, including some of Buffalo’s most vulnerable patients. Congratulations, ECMC nurses!