For Immediate Release: November 17, 2022
A fair contract for nurses and equitable, quality care for the Bronx
on the bargaining table
BronxCare nurses among the 30,000 NYC nurses fighting for fair contracts that protect patient care as hospitals fail to provide good jobs to caregivers who put their lives on the line during the COVID-19 pandemic
New York, NY - Members of the New York State Nurses Association at BronxCare in the Bronx will speak out about conditions at the hospital that put patients at risk and drive nurses away from the bedside. The nurses are citing a lack of frontline nursing staff as a main concern on the job and in their contract negotiations. They are calling on the hospital to invest in hiring and retaining enough permanent, local nurses to keep their patients safe, instead of spending on short-term travel nurse contracts. They are demanding respect and community input to deliver quality, culturally competent care to all patients and to train the next generation of nurses in the Bronx. With reductions and restrictions to their health benefits being considered, nurses are also speaking out about why good benefits are essential to keep them healthy and able to care for patients.
NYSNA Director at Large Flandersia Jones, RN, said: “The people I take care of are my neighbors and friends. I want to make sure they get the best care. Unfortunately, BronxCare consistently lacks the nurse staffing, other frontline staffing, the equipment, and just the basic things we need to take care of our patients. Where I work in cardiology, our patients are very ill and need close monitoring, but I often have to take on more patients than is safe. In other areas of the hospital, we are so short-staffed that patients are being sent to units not equipped to care for them—without the properly trained nurses to care for them.”
BronxCare nurse Ingrid Andino, RN, said: “Nurses deserve quality healthcare. Many of my colleagues got COVID on the job. We put our health and the health of our families at risk. I am especially concerned about keeping my good healthcare benefits. My oldest daughter has a pre-existing, chronic health condition, and she relies on my health benefits. Her treatments are expensive. If our employers reduce my benefits or increase my costs, it will be terrible for me and my family.”
State Senator Robert Jackson said, “We need to step up for our nurses and healthcare workers who work tirelessly to save lives amid every health crisis. Make sure they have an appropriate number of staff available to care for patients to provide quality and safe health care in hospitals, clinics, and nursing homes for all New Yorkers. I stand in solidarity with NYSNA in its demands for improved staffing, increased hiring of additional RNs, protections of benefits, and offering overtime incentive pay. Ensuring the implementation of universal nursing care standards is critical in accessing quality health care. It just makes sense; our healthcare workers make our communities stronger.”
Assemblymember Kenny Burgos, Bronx Assembly District 85, said: "Our nurses put themselves on the frontlines during the COVID-19 pandemic. Their heroic display saved many lives. Unfortunately, our nurses are overworked and underpaid. If we are going to provide proper care to patients, hospitals, like BronxCare, must fully invest in hiring full-time, permanent nurses. I am proud to stand with NYSNA in calling for better benefits and a better working environment."
Assemblymember Jeffrey Dinowitz, Bronx Assembly District 81 said: "We all should have a common goal of providing high quality healthcare services for Bronxites, but having insufficient staff entirely undermines this effort. It is imperative that BronxCare invest the necessary resources to hire and retain nurses that can be part of our community, instead of relying on short-term travel nurses to fill in the gaps."
With two-thirds of RNs across the country saying they are planning to leave the profession in the next two years, NYSNA nurses are sounding the alarm on the staffing crisis that has left 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 good healthcare benefits to competitive pay. NYSNA members at twelve hospitals in New York City, including some of the biggest private hospitals such as Montefiore, Mt. Sinai, and NY-Presbyterian and safety-net hospitals such as BronxCare, The Brooklyn Hospital Center, Maimonides, Interfaith Medical Center, Wyckoff Heights Medical Center, and Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center have contracts expiring on Dec. 31. Hospital executives paid themselves millions in sky-high salaries and bonuses during the pandemic at the same time they hiked hospital prices.
More than 30,000 NYSNA members around New York State are currently in bargaining. This is the first time since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic that so many nurses will be bargaining for their profession and their patients. Nurses are coming together like never before because they are exhausted and demanding change from New York’s hospitals. They are uniting with labor, community, and political allies and are ready to do whatever it takes to win fair contracts that improve patient care, strengthen the nursing workforce, and uplift communities. NYSNA recently affiliated with National Nurses United, uniting the voices of 42,000 NYSNA RNs with the 180,000 members of NNU across the nation.
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, visit nysna.org.