NEW YORK – Nurses at a New York hospital are expected to go on strike Tuesday due to stalled contract negotiations and their safety amid the pandemic.
Around 200 Montefiore New Rochelle Hospital healthcare workers will strike for two days to demand that the hospital provide adequate protective equipment, ventilation, testing and other safety protocols to ensure the safety of staff and patients as cases of COVID-19 continue to rise, according to the New York State Nurses Association.
The union representing more than 42,000 members in the state says conditions at the hospital were “worrisome” because Montefiore began relocating patients just one day before the strike.
Nurses say they are afraid for patients and employees, some of whom contracted COVID-19 and one died from the virus.
“It really is so damaging for us to get a fair contract that we deserve. We work directly with COVID-19 non-stop, tirelessly,” said RN Marcia Hayles.
In response, Montefiore said it has offered nurses “a good deal” in past contract negotiations over the past 18 months, including a 7% salary increase, tuition reimbursement of $ 7,500 per year, non-contributory health insurance and medical expenses. for retired nurses, but NYSNA refused to accept.
The hospital’s scathing statement accused the union of seizing power “to dictate staff assignments and dole out fancy jobs to its friends,” but workers say Montefiore is unprepared for the second surge in COVID-19 cases. He added that the hospital has 90 days of PPE for employees, contradicting the nurses’ claim.
Among the nurses’ top priority demands are hiring more nurses and improving secure staffing, but the union says the hospital wanted those proposals dropped.
“After so many negotiating sessions, their position on safe staffing has yet to change; they are not willing to spend a penny to make sure we have enough nurses to safely care for our community,” said Kathy Santioemma, leader from NYSNA in New Rochelle in a press release.
The workers are expected to begin their strike at 7:00 am Tuesday. Meanwhile, the Montefiore will remain open while it enacts a contingency plan to move patients to other facilities.