Nurses are ready to strike on December 1 at Albany Medical Center

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 20, 2020
Contact: Carl Ginsburg | carl.ginsburg@nysna.org | 917.405.1060

Demand preparation for COVID-19 Wave; “Atrocious Staffing” and “Substandard PPE” are recipe for disaster, say Nurses

One-Day Walk-Out Planned

Albany, NY — Facing a disastrous lack of preparation by hospital management, in conditions that undercut safe patient care and threaten harm to nurses and other hospital staff, nurses of the New York State Nurses Association are striking to demand critical improvements in staffing and infection control standards.

The nurses have been negotiating a contract for two years, working through the first wave of the coronavirus. With another surge arriving, nurses are refusing to accept understaffing and the lack of personal professional equipment (PPE).

The AMC strike announcement comes on the same day that nurses at Montefiore New Rochelle Hospital put out their announcement of a two-day strike over poor working conditions and the imminent threat of the next wave of COVID-19.

“We are not walking out. We are being forced out,” said Lenore Granich, RN, AMC Negotiating Committee Member. “AMC is not and has not listened to us. COVID-19 is back with a vengeance and our staffing is at critical mass, PPE – especially N95s - are being reused multiple times and now our staff members are becoming infected. These conditions put us and our patients at risk. When will enough be enough?”

Nurse concerns about their ability to safely care for patients during this pandemic reached a new height, as hospital infections increase. Nurses at AMC report that COVID and NON-COVID patients are sometimes co-mingled, allowing spread of the virus. “COVID-positive patients are all over the place,” said one nurse. The emergency room is overflowing, with the addition of hallway beds. N95 masks are re-used after being treated with sanitizer, in what nurses cite as ineffective and dangerous. “You taste an acid-like film in your mouth from the used mask,” said Granich.

Hundreds of hospital staff – including more than 200 nurses – have left AMC due to hospital conditions in what one nurse called a “hospital coming apart at the seams.”

AMC has unilaterally changed terms and conditions of work and intimidated RNs from communicating with co-workers about the union. The National Labor Relations Board is currently investigating these unfair labor practice charges.

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The New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA) represents more than 42,000 members in New York State. We are New York’s largest union and professional association for registered nurses. For more information, please visit nysna.org.

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