Queens Nurses Continue Protests At New York City Public Hospitals

Photos: NYSNA\Facebook

New York, NY— NYSNA nurses enter a second week of protests at major public hospitals, with nurses rallying today at Queens Hospital Center. The public sector nurses were joined by Congressmember Grace Meng and NYC Councilmember Jim Gennaro. A video news release is available here

Tomorrow, nurses will rally again with elected officials and labor allies at Harlem Hospital at 1 p.m. at 506 Lenox Ave. in Manhattan.

Nurses are calling on the city and Mayor Adams to do the right thing for racial and healthcare justice for New Yorkers and settle a fair contract with nurses that will help to recruit and retain enough caregivers at the bedside.

At bargaining on Friday, June 23, NYSNA nurses made significant progress, with both sides agreeing to an escalated calendar of bargaining sessions beginning in July, with the mutual goal of settling a contract by August 1. The main contract issues still to be addressed are safe staffing and pay parity to resolve the crisis of understaffing and high turnover in NYC’s public health system.

Last week, Politico reported new data that the city released on spending for temporary travel nurse contracts after NYC Comptroller Brad Lander raised concerns about out-of-control costs in a letter to H+H. The city revealed that NYC H+H spent $589.9 million on temp RN staffing in fiscal year 2022, even more than the $549 million previously reported for calendar year 2022

And spending on temp RN staffing in fiscal year 2023 is on track to exceed last year’s expenditures after only a few months, with $401.8 million already spent in FY 2023. The average hourly rate for temp nurses is now $163.50. That’s nearly 3.5 times what staff nurses make, fringe benefits included.

Even using the city’s much lower previously released estimate, NYC spends at least $1.5 million on temp nurses every single day that they fail to settle a fair contract that keeps qualified staff nurses at the bedside.

The New York Daily News previously reported that NYC paid $1.2 billion to a for-profit staffing firm called Rightsourcing in fiscal year 2022. Rightsourcing, which is owned by a Swedish private equity firm, subcontracted with temp agencies to fill staffing gaps at H+H/Mayorals – gaps that were largely caused by public sector nurse pay being so much lower than the industry standard.

Approximately 8,000 NYSNA nurses at NYC Health+Hospitals facilities and mayoral agencies have been in negotiations for a new contract since Feb. 14, 2023. Their contract expired on March 2, 2023. They are demanding fair pay for the mostly Black and Brown nurses who care for NYC’s most vulnerable patients.

The New York State Nurses Association represents more than 42,000 members in New York State. We are New York’s largest union and professional association for registered nurses. NYSNA is an affiliate of National Nurses United, AFL-CIO, the country’s largest and fastest-growing union and professional association of registered nurses, with more than 225,000 members nationwide.

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