Nurses at New York hospitals strike over coronavirus protections, contract negotiations

Evie Fordham
·2 min read

The New York State Nurses Association is supporting strikes at two hospitals in New Rochelle and Albany where nurses say staff and patients are not being properly protected from coronavirus due to a lack of PPE and understaffing.

Union nurses are striking at Albany Medical Center on Tuesday over "abysmal conditions," including "forcing nurses to re-use masks up to 20 times," according to the New York State Nurses Association. Union nurses are also striking Tuesday and Wednesday at Montefiore New Rochelle amid contract negotiations after they say management would not commit to hiring more nurses and making safety improvements.

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Nurses demonstrated outside the hospitals with signs declaring: "Too many patients, too few RNs" and "COVID heroes deserve a fair contract."

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A spokesperson for Albany Medical Center told FOX Business that Tuesday is a "painful day" for the hospital and accused nurses of abandoning their patients.

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"Temporary nurses are on site for those nurses who are striking," the spokesperson said in a statement. "PPE and staffing levels were not outstanding issues during negotiations with NYSNA on this first contract. Albany Med presented a fair contract to the union; the union rejected that proposal. We would be happy to meet with the union when it feels it has a proposal worth discussing."

Montefiore Medicine spokesman Marcos Crespo said Monday that the hospital is relocating some patients to other facilities for their safety because of the strike.

"NYSNA is willfully misleading the public by suggesting that Montefiore New Rochelle is unprepared for the latest COVID-19 surge, when the truth is, in compliance with the Governor's orders, MNR is stocked with 90 days of PPE for its employees," Crespo said in a statement.

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"We choose patients over NYSNA’s politics," he continued.

FOX Business' inquiry to the New York State Nurses Association was not immediately returned.

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