Albany Medical Center nurses set to strike Dec. 1

Nurses at Albany (N.Y.) Medical Center plan to strike Dec. 1 for improvements in staffing and infection control standards, according to the union that represents them.

The New York State Nurses Association, which represents about 2,000 nurses at the hospital, alleges understaffing and lack of personal protective equipment at Albany Medical Center. Union members also contend COVID-19 patients and patients who do not have the virus are sometimes comingled, allowing COVID-19 to spread, and that hospital management intimidated nurses who wanted to speak to co-workers about the union. 

"AMC is not and has not listened to us. COVID-19 is back with a vengeance, and our staffing is at critical mass, PPE — especially N95s – are being reused multiple times, and now our staff members are becoming infected," Lenore Granich, RN, a member of the Albany Medical Center negotiating committee, said in a news release. "These conditions put us and our patients at risk." 

The union and Albany Medical Center have been negotiating a contract since July 2018. Unless an agreement is reached, the strike is slated for 7 a.m. Dec. 1 to 7 a.m. Dec. 2.

Hospital President and CEO Dennis McKenna, MD, said the hospital has negotiated in good faith and offered the union a contract that it views as fair. The hospital is preparing to continue care during the strike, he said. 

"As the region’s only level 1 trauma center and tertiary care center, with the region's only children's hospital and pediatric emergency department, Albany Med plays a critical and unique role in providing care for the 3million people of our region. Albany Med will remain open, and we urge every member of our community not to delay care," Dr. McKenna said in a news release Nov. 20. 

"Before and through the coronavirus pandemic, Albany Med has made every effort to ensure the safety of our patients and workforce — from adequate supplies of personal protective equipment to necessary staffing levels," he said.

According to clinical and operational leaders, Albany Medical Center has hired temporary nurses to replace striking ones, and the number of temporary nurses will be determined based on staffing needs.


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