16,000 New York City Nurses Are Preparing to Strike

Dealing with a ‘tridemic’ of COVID-19, flu, and RSV, employees say they’re at a breaking level and affected person security is in danger.

An estimated 16,000 unionized nurses from non-public hospitals throughout the New York Metropolis metropolitan space introduced strike authorizations on Friday as present contracts are set to run out and the area continues to expertise a “tridemic” well being disaster that features Covid-19, flu, and the respiratory sickness generally known as RSV.

The New York State Nurses Affiliation (NYSNA) issued ten-day notices on Friday for strikes to start on January 9 if contract agreements aren’t reached at eight hospitals, together with NewYork-Presbyterian, Montefiore, Mount Sinai Hospital, Mount Sinai Morningside and West, Maimonides, BronxCare, Richmond College Medical Heart, and Flushing Hospital Medical Heart.

Nurses at every of the hospitals voted individually on whether or not their union members would go on strike as they known as for higher caregiver-to-patient ratios, elevated advantages, and a sustainable and honest answer to power staffing shortages.

In an announcement, the NYSNA stated the notices “give hospitals time to plan look after sufferers whereas nurses are on strike. However one of the best ways for administration to guard sufferers is to hearken to nurses and settle honest contracts that shield affected person care within the subsequent 10 days.”

“We’re really struggling,” Michelle Gonzalez, a registered nurse and NYSNA member, told native NBC affiliate Information 4 exterior a hospital in Yonkers on Friday. “Now we have been telling the establishment that there’s not sufficient of us, that we can’t cut up ourselves into two individuals — if we may, we’d simply have executed that already.”

“That is about our communities,” added Vanessa Weldon, one other nurse and member of the union. “That is about offering one of the best affected person care to our neighborhood.”

Weldon stated the message to administration “is that we’d like a good contract.” In keeping with Gonzalez, the strike authorizations on the varied hospitals are about ensuring the voices of nurses are being heard.

“Someone has to listen to us,” she stated. “Someone wants to know that we’re struggling. This isn’t going to be sustainable for for much longer and we’re solely persevering with to lose extra healthcare employees” if motion just isn’t taking to enhance working situations and advantages for the nursing workers.

Forward of the vote and Friday’s announcement, NYSNA president Nancy Hagans, BSN, RN, said the union doesn’t take the strike menace “frivolously.”

“Hanging is all the time a final resort,” Hagans stated. “However we’re ready to strike if our bosses give us no different possibility. Nurses have been to hell and again, risking our lives to save lots of our sufferers all through the Covid-19 pandemic, generally with out the PPE we wanted to maintain ourselves secure, and too usually with out sufficient workers for secure affected person care.”

“As a substitute of supporting us and acknowledging our work,” she added, “hospital executives have been combating towards Covid nurse heroes. They’ve left us with no different alternative however to maneuver ahead with voting to authorize a strike for higher affected person care.”