Judge dismisses union lawsuit against Montefiore over working conditions

A union lawsuit alleging unsafe working conditions at New York City-based Montefiore Medical Center has been dismissed, according to The Hill.

The lawsuit — filed April 20 by the New York State Nurses Association — alleged Montefiore failed to provide adequate protections for healthcare workers treating COVID-19 patients.

U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman granted Montefiore's motion to dismiss the lawsuit, saying he was not authorized to rule on the disagreement, according to the order obtained by The Hill

The judge encouraged both sides to "continue their efforts to reach an amicable resolution of their disputes."

He also said both sides were "in a better position than either the court or an arbitrator to find the best ways to achieve that goal despite limited resources and ever-changing circumstances."

In a statement provided to Becker's Hospital Review, Montefiore said the dismissal of the lawsuit recognizes the union's actions as a "distraction from our efforts to save lives throughout the crisis," and allows the organization "to return our focus 100 percent to caring for our patients."

The New York State Nurses Association said in a statement that since the lawsuit was filed, Montefiore has said it will properly fit nurses with N95 respirator masks that they will receive daily. According to the union, the hospital also said it will provide sick pay to nurses who have been out of work due to COVID-19 infection, as well as expand COVID-19 testing to more nurses working with infected patients.

The union said arbitration is scheduled over an omnibus safety grievance that the union filed.  

"Every safety improvement that Montefiore Medical Center has made was the result of nurses fighting for working conditions that protect the health and safety of nurses and patients," the union said.

The union has also filed lawsuits against the state and Valhalla, N.Y.-based Westchester Medical Center over working conditions during the pandemic. Those lawsuits are pending, according to The Hill.


More articles on human resources:
Unions urge U of Illinois health system to boost protections after 2nd COVID-19 employee death
Workers at Nevada HCA hospitals protest over working conditions
Union files OSHA complaint against New Jersey hospital, nursing home over protective equipment

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