Nurses at Gracie Square Hospital won a new contract this month with an overwhelming majority of nurses voting in favor of ratification. The new contract addresses two major issues for nurses—safe staffing and respectful wages.
The new three-year contract, which goes into effect immediately, provides nurses with an 18% base salary increase over the course of the contract with yearly increases of about 7%, 6% and 5% with full retroactive pay. These increases put Gracie Square Hospital nurses in line with increases at other NewYork-Presbyterian hospitals that have recently settled contracts with NYSNA.
The agreement also includes the immediate hire of two additional day and night shift nurses to meet growing patient demand. It also strengthens enforcement of safe staffing ratios by establishing a grievance and arbitration process.
The Gracie Square nurses spent months mobilizing, negotiating, and making their voices heard to win this contract. Gracie Square Hospital, part of the NewYork-Presbyterian health system, is one of the few dedicated psychiatric hospitals in New York City. As the city faced a mental health crisis exacerbated by the closure of psychiatric beds throughout New York City, Gracie Square Hospital management began adding more patient beds but refused to hire more nurses to care for patients safely.
Nurses sounded the alarm over insufficient staffing as a matter of workplace and patient safety. NYSNA members picketed outside the hospital, expressing their demands for safe staffing and a fair contract. Then as hospital leadership dragged their feet, hundreds of NYSNA nurses gathered outside the facility to hold a vigil for safe staffing. This vigil took place on the first day of a strike authorization vote, which was eventually passed with an overwhelming majority of members voting ‘yes’ to strike. This was the first time Gracie Square members had voted to authorize a strike, and it sent a strong message to management that nurses were ready to do whatever it takes to win a fair contract.
Congratulations to Gracie Square nurses on fighting and winning a great new contract that respects nurses and patients.