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TODAY AT 11:30 AM: NYC Public Hospital Nurses to Rally at Foley Square
BREAKING: 25% of staff nurse positions remain vacant in NYC public hospitals & the city spent a whopping $197 million on temporary travel nurse contracts to fill staffing gaps in just the first three months of 2022
It costs New York City too much to keep nurse pay so low – that’s the message from NYC Health+Hospitals and Mayoral agency nurses, who are sounding the alarm on the crisis of high turnover and understaffing that harms patient care
New York, NY— On Wednesday, May 10th, 2023 at 11:30 AM, NYSNA members who work for NYC Health+Hospitals and Mayoral agencies will hold a rally at Foley Square to sound the alarm on the crisis of understaffing and high turnover that threatens care for the vulnerable patients who depend on our city’s public health system. Nurses are calling for pay equity as a matter of healthcare and racial justice.
NEW: Nearly 2,000 nurses – adding up to 25% of staff nurse positions – are missing from our public hospitals after a mass exodus of staff since 2020 due to low pay and pandemic burnout. The city spent a whopping $197 million on temporary travel nurse contracts in just the first three months of 2022 to fill those staffing gaps. That’s more than it would cost over an entire year to raise public sector nurse wages to parity with private sector nurse pay. Even by a conservative estimate, the city likely spent over half a billion dollars on temporary travel nurse contracts in 2022. It’s costing New York City more to keep nurse pay so low.
WHAT: Rally at Foley Square to Call for Safe Staffing & Pay Equity
WHO: NYC Public Hospital & Mayoral Agency Nurses & Allies including Reverend Al Sharpton, NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, NYC Comptroller Brad Lander, Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine, Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, NYC Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO President Vincent Alvarez, Committee of Interns and Residents / SEIU, and New York City Council Members Mercedes Narcisse, Carmen De La Rosa, Julie Won, Carlina Rivera, Chris Marte, Julie Menin, Marjorie Velazquez, Tiffany Caban , and Rita Joseph.
WHERE: Foley Square, Manhattan
WHEN: Wednesday, May 10, 2023 at 11:30 AM
VISUALS: Hundreds of NYSNA nurses with signs rallying
New York City’s public hospitals and mayoral agencies make up the largest public healthcare system in the country and provide care for 1.4 million New Yorkers each year – regardless of insurance or immigration status, or ability to pay. Heath+Hospitals/Mayorals System nurses are in the midst of union contract negotiations with the city.
Public sector nurses are mobilizing on the heels of a strike victory for private sector nurses, who won groundbreaking contracts that improved staffing and included 19.9 percent pay increases. With new raises for private sector nurses, the pay disparity for newly graduated nurses in the public sector will be over $19,000 per year. NYC’s public health facilities serve mostly Black and brown and immigrant New Yorkers and are staffed by mostly Black and brown and immigrant nurses. Pay parity is an issue of health and racial equity for New York City.
At a City Council hearing, Health + Hospitals President and CEO Dr. Mitchell Katz, Dr. Katz, acknowledged that low pay for public hospital nurses is causing high turnover and that expensive travel nurses now make up 25 percent of nursing staff, contributing to a budget shortfall. In his testimony, Dr. Katz said he supports safe staffing levels and acknowledged that H+H has fallen short.
Dr. Katz joined a growing list of supporters for pay parity that includes elected leaders such as NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, Assembly Members Steven Raga, Jessica Gonzalez-Rojas, and Phara Souffrant Forrest, City Council Member and Chair of Hospitals Committee Mercedes Narcisse, City Council Members Marjorie Velazquez, Shaun Abreu, Jim Gennaro, Justin Brannan, Carmen De La Rosa, and Lynn Schulman.
NYC’s public hospital and mayoral agencies nurses have borne the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a member survey, one out of every two H+H nurses have gotten infected with COVID at work. In the early months of the pandemic, the majority of NYSNA members who died of COVID-19 on the frontlines were from the public sector. Although H+H/ Mayorals members represent 35% of NYSNA’s NYC members, they accounted for 53% of the deaths.
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.