Hospitals & Facilities

Staten Island nurses issue strike notice

About 1,300 nurses at a Northwell facility plan to strike April 2 over wages and safe staffing.
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Francis Scialabba

· less than 3 min read

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About 1,300 nurses at Staten Island University Hospital (SIUH) will strike on April 2 if contract negotiations fail, the New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA) announced Thursday.

The union, which represents about 42,000 nurses across the state, is looking for higher wages and improved nurse-to-patient ratios for their members—sticking points for Northwell Health, according to NYSNA.

“We don’t want to strike, but we are ready to strike if Northwell gives us no other choice,” Lillian Decker, a nurse and NYSNA’s elected bargaining unit president at SIUH, said in a statement. “Northwell tells one story in their extravagant ad campaign, but here at the hospital we see a different, bleaker story. Every day we see how nurses are burnt out, expected to do the job of more than one person, and being forced to find better jobs off Staten Island.”

Nurses across the state have reported issues with understaffing at hospitals despite a New York law that mandates facilities develop a ratio of staff to fewer patients for quality of care improvements. The union also alleges that, compared to other facilities, SIUH pays below-rate wages compared to other facilities that have driven nurses to better-paying jobs elsewhere.

NYSNA added that Northwell, the largest health system in New York, is more interested in expanding its footprint; the negotiations for a new three-year contract come after the health system has sought to merge with Connecticut-based Nuvance Health in an $18 billion deal (pending regulatory approval from both states).

Northwell spokesperson Jillian O’Hara said SIUH is “disappointed in NYSNA’s decision to issue a strike notice” but noted that hospital leaders are optimistic they can reach a fair contract.

“We are proud of the longstanding excellent care our dedicated nursing team provides and that our patients and community have come to trust,” she said in a statement. “We look forward to ongoing positive and productive negotiations with NYSNA. In the event of a strike, patient care remains our highest priority.”

SIUH will remain “fully operational” in the event of a strike, O’Hara added.

The existing three-year contract between NYSNA and SIUH expires on March 31.

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