After Strike Pays Off for Nurses at Private Hospitals In New York, Will Nurses at Public Hospitals Follow Their Footsteps? - medtigo



After Strike Pays Off for Nurses at Private Hospitals In New York, Will Nurses at Public Hospitals Follow Their Footsteps?

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After going on strike at two private hospitals in New York City for several weeks, a nurses’ union is demanding that the city’s public hospitals commit to paying its members compensation equivalent to those of the private hospitals.  

The New York State Nurses Association recently sent a letter to the city’s Health + Hospitals network outlining its demand. It is based on contracts agreed with numerous private hospitals last month, which resulted in salary raises and guarantees of better staffing.  

“If there is no pay equity between the private and public parts, we will never be able to attract nurses to H+H,” union president Nancy Hagans told the Daily News on Wednesday.  

“After our recent contract wins, the gap is approximately $19,000 per year,” said Hagans. “And the nurses are trained the same manner, they provide the same care, they work extremely hard, and they have the same education; therefore, we fear that these nurses will quit and enter the private sector.”  

As per Daily News, Hagans stated that these hospitals might not be able to sustain the nurse-to-patient staffing ratios stipulated in the union’s existing contract with the city due to concerns over fair compensation and a nurse exodus from the city’s public hospitals.  

In addition, the city may face significant fiscal deficits in the next years. Despite the fact that Mayor Adams declared his support for nurses who went on strike at private hospitals last month, it is uncertain how sympathetic he and his Office of Labor Relations will be towards their counterparts at public hospitals in light of the probable fiscal crunch.  

The city’s public hospital network, comprised of eleven hospitals and dozens of additional smaller medical facilities, serves the underprivileged primarily. Some, like as Lincoln Hospital in the Bronx, are the only local hospitals equipped to treat acute mental illness or serious trauma, such as gunshot or stab wounds. 

Sonia Lawrence, a nurse at Lincoln for the past 28 years, stated that due to the burnout nurses encountered during the COVID pandemic and the new contracts with private hospitals, nurses are deciding to leave. “Nurses are leaving in droves. On certain wards, we’ve lost four nurses in one week,” she said.  

“We constantly do more with less.” We provide care to all New Yorkers, regardless of their socioeconomic status, insurance, race, color, capacity to pay, or immigration status. But we are fatigued,” continued Lawrence.  

She stated, “Staffing has always been a concern for us.” “However, due to the pandemic and the newly awarded contracts to our private siblings, the situation has spiraled out of control.” The city’s Health + Hospitals network and the union are set to begin negotiations next month. The contract between the union and H+H expires on March 6.  


It is yet unclear the route these conversations will go. In a letter to H+H and the city’s Office of Labor Relations, however, NYSNA Executive Director Pat Kane indicated the uniowouldll depend on an inactive pay parity provision in its current contract, stating that the subject of pay parity represented “an existential crisis” for nurses. 

She stated, “This clause has been suspended for the duration of the agreement, which expires on March 2, 2023.” The NYSNA has plans to restart this. According to Kane’s letter dated February 1, several of the private hospitals that agreed to hikes in the coming years are on the “parity calculation list” of the present contract.  

“With these new [contract] settlements, the wage disparity will exceed $19,000,” noted Kane. These increases are currently being implemented, and each NYC H+H NYSNA nurse is aware of them. Kane added that prior to the new contracts, the average salary disparity between private and public hospital nurses was almost $14,000.  

Given the legislative prohibitions against public employees walking off the job, the approaching contract negotiations with the city’s public hospital network do not carry the prospect of a strike.  

In January, this was not the case at private hospitals. After discussions reached an impasse last month, nurses at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx and Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan walked off the work for days. Eventually, negotiations continued at both hospitals and resulted in new contracts, but the relatively brief strikes produced disruption and left patients and their families concerned about the quality of care.  

Throughout the strike, the New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA) received an outpouring of support, especially from elected figures, including Mayor Adams, who stated at the time that he was a “solid backer of the nurses.”  

It appears that political leaders will advocate for municipal hospital nurses. The union will host a forum with Public Advocate Jumaane Williams on Thursday evening, and both Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine and Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso have stated their support for the union’s efforts at parity.  

Levine observed that Health + Hospitals has trouble recruiting nurses. “The money is tight, but I don’t think there’s any way around this one,” he remarked. The administration is looking forward to “new possibilities to expand our cooperation with NYSNA and the nurses who are so vital to our mission,” according to a representative for President Adams.  

Adams may also consider his prior support for striking nurses, but he must also consider the city’s fiscal problems. Recent budget estimations indicate that the city could face a budget deficit of up to $6.5 billion in 2026. 


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