Nurses at South Shore College Hospital on Long Island are one step nearer to following within the footsteps of New York Metropolis nurses who went on strike in early January.
The nurses’ contract with South Shore, which is owned by Northwell Well being, expired final February. Negotiations over a brand new one have been ongoing for months, in keeping with the New York State Nurses Affiliation. On Friday, practically all the 800 or so members of the hospital’s nurses union voted to authorize a strike. If contract negotiations proceed to stall, the union might situation a 10-day discover alerting the hospital that nurses are planning to stroll off the job.
“We don’t take putting frivolously, and lots of of our members by no means thought it will come to this,” Chrysse Blau, the president of NYSNA’s native bargaining unit at the hospital, mentioned in an announcement. “But after months of negotiations, Northwell is still unwilling to listen to the nurses and deliver a contract that will help staff this hospital safely to deliver the care our community deserves.”
NYSNA spokesperson Diana Moreno mentioned nurses are pushing for an 18% pay bump over three years, much like the raises that had been included in current contract agreements at a number of New York Metropolis hospitals. However as with these hospitals, South Shore nurses mentioned safer staffing was the larger situation.
The nurses need Northwell to comply with set and implement nurse-to-patient ratios in every unit. At Mount Sinai, for instance, the contract nurses received said that an arbitrator might step in if ratios had been routinely violated.
Jennifer Scimone, a cardiothoracic nurse at South Shore, mentioned nurses in her unit are sometimes imagined to take care of 5 sufferers at a time, however are typically assigned as many as eight.
“You can’t be in seven places at once,” mentioned Scimone. “It’s just not physically or humanly possible to provide the level of care that they need and also the type of care that they deserve.”
Scimone, who has labored at the hospital for 5 years, mentioned that whereas there have been staffing points previous to the pandemic, that they had been exacerbated as many longtime nurses left. It’s a development that’s placing a pressure on many hospitals nationwide. However Scimone mentioned the current three-day nurses’ strike at Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan and Montefiore Medical Middle within the Bronx gave her hope. Each hospitals agreed to contracts that included hiring commitments, nurse-to-patient ratios and enforcement mechanisms.
“The New York City strike definitely empowered us,” Scimone mentioned.
Though strikes can have critical penalties for affected person care, Scimone mentioned she thought the nurses who went on strike within the metropolis had been “advocating” for his or her sufferers. “We decided that it’s time for us to stand up and do the same,” Scimone mentioned. Gothamist reported this week that Mount Sinai is investigating the loss of life of a child within the neonatal intensive care unit that came about through the nurses’ strike there.
Requested in regards to the strike vote on Friday, Northwell spokesperson Barbara Osborn mentioned, “We remain optimistic that an agreement can be reached and look forward to positive and productive negotiations next week. We are proud of the long-standing excellent care our dedicated nursing team provides and that our patients and community have come to trust.”
A nurse at the hospital shared an e-mail with Gothamist that Northwell management despatched out to workers on Jan. 30 with a proposal that outlined progressive compensation relationship again to March 2022. The nurse was granted anonymity as a result of menace of retaliation.
“While SSUH is eager to reach an agreement with NYSNA, we must also consider the financial impact on the hospital,” the e-mail said, including that a few of NYSNA’s proposals had been “unsustainable.” NYSNA confirmed the e-mail.
Requested about this provide, Osborn famous that negotiations are ongoing. The following session is scheduled for Feb. 9.