FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Saturday, Dec. 31, 2022
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NYSNA RNs Have Delivered 10-Day Strike Notices at Eight Hospitals and Counting
Video News Release Footage Available Here and Additional Videos and Photos Available Here
New York, NY—Approximately 16,000 NYSNA nurses and counting at eight hospitals, including NewYork-Presbyterian, Montefiore, Mount Sinai Hospital, Mount Sinai Morningside and West, Maimonides, BronxCare, Richmond University Medical Center and Flushing Hospital Medical Center are planning to strike, in what would be one of the largest private sector RN strike in United States History. Nurses say the key issue is understaffing that harms nurses and patients.
Nurses delivered 10-day strike notices at facilities throughout the day and into the evening yesterday as hospital executives failed to settle fair contracts that protect patient care. The 10-day notices mean that approximately 16,000 nurses and counting will go on strike beginning Jan. 9 in at least eight hospitals, unless they can reach fair contract agreements before then. NYSNA RNs will continue to bargain non-stop between now and January 9th in the hopes of reaching agreements.
The 10-day notices give hospitals time to plan care for patients while nurses are on strike. But the best way for management to protect patients is to listen to nurses and settle fair contracts that protect patient care in the next 10 days.
Nancy Hagans, RN at Maimonides Medical Center and President of the New York State Nurses Association, said: “Unfortunately, after months of negotiations, our bosses have given us no other option than to exercise our right to strike. Striking is always a last resort, and we will continue to work around the clock to try to settle our contracts by January 9th. But we are prepared to strike if our bosses give us no other option. We have been through hell, risking our lives throughout the pandemic, and yet our bosses are still fighting against COVID nurse heroes. We don’t need anyone to clap for us now. We need fair union contracts that protect nurses and our patients.”
Aretha Morgan, RN, MSN, Pediatric ER nurse at NewYork-Presbyterian, said: “NewYork-Presbyterian paid its CEO almost $12 million dollars in salary, bonus and perks in 2020 at the height of the pandemic, but cries broke when it comes to investing in hiring and retaining enough nurses to safely care for our patients. Hospital management abandoned nurses at the height of the pandemic, as we dealt with death and trauma at a 9/11-level every single day, and they’re abandoning nurses and patients now, in the midst of a tripledemic of COVID, RSV and flu, by putting their bottom line above patient care. We are fed up and won’t take it anymore.”
Michelle Gonzalez, RN at Montefiore said: “We’re planning to strike for our patients. The Bronx ranks last of all counties across New York State when it comes to health outcomes. But instead of investing in our community, Montefiore has refused to do what it takes to hire and retain enough nurses. Instead, Montefiore cut primary care services and is planning to shut down the Montefiore Nurse-Family Partnership, a lifeline for high risk pregnant mothers and their babies. Nurses are fighting to protect our patients – and we can’t do that without safe staffing.”
Matt Allen, Labor and Delivery RN at Mount Sinai Hospital, said: “It breaks my heart that a new mother’s experience of our hospital could be struggling to breastfeed her newborn for the first time without any support because her nurse is caring for double the number of newborns they’re supposed to. Hospital executives seem to forget that their mission is to provide quality care to the community and are instead penny-pinching by under-staffing nurses and under-serving patients.”
Flandersia Jones, RN at BronxCare, said: “My patients in the Bronx look like me, live in the same community I do, and most of them are like family. Some of them have been coming to the hospital so long that they have no other family and now we are their family. Our patients deserve the best possible care regardless of their income or race. But nurses can only do so much when we are taking care of 10 or more patients at once. It’s not fair to our patients. And we won’t tolerate unsafe staffing anymore.”
Michelle Jones, RN at Flushing Hospital, said: “I’ve been a nurse for over 35 years with most of those years at Flushing Hospital. My colleagues and I are standing in solidarity together as we fight for fair contracts with safe staffing. Across New York City, nurses are united in our commitment to protecting patient care and solving this crisis of understaffing that our bosses created. We’re calling on hospital executives to work with us instead of fighting against us.”
Nella Pineda-Marcon, RN at Mount Sinai Morningside said: “We won the strike vote and we will strike unless we get what we ask for from the management. When we stick together, we can make change happen for the benefit of our patients, our workplace, and the communities we serve.”
Diane Donaghy, RN at Richmond University Medical Center in Staten Island said: “At RUMC we can’t hire and retain nurses because we are understaffed and our salaries aren’t competitive with other hospitals. The hospital is expanding and renovating to draw more patients, but what good is that when there are not enough nurses or other frontline staff? To deliver high-quality care and build the hospital’s reputation, hospital administration needs to invest in nursing.”
Approximately 17,000 NYSNA members at twelve hospitals in New York City, including some of the biggest private hospitals such as Montefiore, Mount Sinai, and NewYork-Presbyterian have contracts expiring tonight at midnight. So far 16,000 of those nurses at eight hospitals voted by an approximately 99 percent margin to authorize a strike – all of the facilities where nurses authorized a strike gave 10-day notices yesterday. Strike authorization votes are ongoing for approximately 1,200 nurses at the remaining four facilities.
RNs have been sounding the alarm about the short-staffing crisis that puts patients at risk, especially during a tripledemic of COVID, RSV and flu. Nurses say hospitals aren’t doing enough to keep caregivers at the bedside, and instead of working with COVID nurse heroes, in some cases, have tried to silence nurses from speaking out about understaffing.
Some hospitals have even engaged in unfair and unlawful behavior, trying to stop RNs from speaking to the media, threatening RNs who have spoken out, spying on and questioning RNs about their union, interfering with union rights, directing RNs to remove union stickers and discriminating and retaliating against union members.
Hospital executives paid themselves millions in sky-high salaries and bonuses during the pandemic at the same time they hiked hospital prices. Management can afford to do better. In 2020, in total compensation, NY-Presbyterian paid its top earners $68,604,386, including $11,928,405 to its CEO; and Montefiore Health System paid top earners $27,975,832, including $7,422,610 to its CEO.
Two-thirds of RNs across the country say they are planning to leave the profession in the next two years, with understaffing leaving caregivers burnt out and at their breaking point. Nurses say that hospitals are not doing enough to keep them at the bedside – from safe staffing ratios to competitive pay.
Nurses have detailed how chronic understaffing in hospitals is unsafe for patients and nurses. Patients suffer and experience worse health outcomes when nursing care is rushed or delayed due to understaffing. They are urging hospitals to maintain safe staffing standards in all hospitals as a matter of health equity and quality care for all.
Hospital executives have until Jan. 9th to settle fair contracts, or they’ll see nurses on the strike line.
The New York State Nurses Association represents more than 42,000 members in New York State. We are New York’s largest union and professional association for registered nurses. NYSNA is an affiliate of National Nurses United, AFL-CIO, the country's largest and fastest-growing union and professional association of registered nurses, with more than 225,000 members nationwide. For more information, visit nysna.org.