New York City nurses prepare for day of protest over staffing

Thousands of unionized nurses in New York City plan to protest Feb. 13 amid reports that they say show inadequate staffing caused bad conditions at 13 area facilities, the New York State Nurses Association announced.  

The union said the reports are from nearly 2,500 official "protests of assignment" documents signed by more 12,000 nurses last year indicating that a nursing assignment is not safe. The protests of assignment were filed by nurses at Montefiore, Mount Sinai and NewYork-Presbyterian health systems.

A spokesperson for the New York City Hospital Alliance noted that those documents represent about .1 percent of all scheduled shifts over the course of the year.

In one protest of assignment cited by the union, a nurse writes, "Insufficient space, hallway patients, patients stacked in rows, unable to access patients in a timely manner, temp in ED 76 degrees on west side, air conditioning not working on East side and area is very hot and uncomfortable, inadequate ventilation, unable to comply with appropriate infection control. Patients waiting days to get a bed and aggressive to staff."

Amid the nurses' reports, union members have scheduled protests Feb. 13 at the following facilities:

  • NewYork-Presbyterian: Milstein Hospital
  • Montefiore Henry & Lucy Moses Campus
  • Montefiore Jack D. Weiler Campus
  • Mount Sinai Hospital
  • St. Luke's Hospital
  • Mount Sinai West Hospital

Informational picketing is also scheduled at:

  • The Brooklyn Hospital Center
  • BronxCare Health System
  • NewYork-Presbyterian: Allen Hospital
  • Montefiore Hutchinson Campus
  • Montefiore Westchester Square
  • Montefiore Home Health Agency
  • Wyckoff Heights Medical Center

The protest plans come after 22 completed bargaining sessions between the union and the New York City Hospital Alliance, with more scheduled this month and in March.

Staffing has been a key sticking point in negotiations. The union has argued for mandated nurse staffing ratios, while the alliance argues for a "patient-first approach to staffing that is built on tailored, flexible staffing plans — designed by experienced nurses — that have proven to best meet the individual and ever-changing needs of patients."

Regarding the planned picketing, an alliance spokesperson told Becker's, "We respect the right of NYSNA members to engage in informational picketing with proper notice. This is not a strike and will not interfere with normal operations. All alliance hospitals will continue to provide the high-quality care that New Yorkers depend on."


More articles on human capital and risk: 

Pennsylvania hospital service workers OK labor deal with raises
Hospitals and unions: 5 recent conflicts, agreements
California nurses threaten daylong strike

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