Nurses at Staten Island University Hospital/Northwell vote to strike

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Wednesday, March 13, 2024
Nurses at Staten Island University Hospital vote to strike
Pedro Rivera has the latest on Staten Island on the nurses' strike.

OCEAN BREEZE, Staten Island (WABC) -- Nurses at Staten Island University Hospital/Northwell have voted to authorize a strike.

Members of the New York State Nurses Association announced the vote Wednesday at a rally in front of the facility on Seaview Avenue in Ocean Breeze.

The union says 97% of the 1,300 nurses at SIUH voted in favor of striking.

Below-market pay and frequent understaffing are the chief concerns.

Nurses also say Northwell Health has been asking them to do more with less and have made changes that could compromise patient care.

Shayna Lehrer has been a registered nurse at the hospital for a year and a half and says the lack of staffing hurts patient care.

"All we are asking for is to be safe and deliver safety care to our patients and that's so minimal," she said.

Depending on the department, the union says they would like to see one nurse for every four patients. They say right now it's almost one nurse to every ten patients.

"Nurses shouldn't be living paycheck to paycheck while keeping Staten Island safe and healthy," said NYSNA President Nancy Hagans, RN, BSN, CCRN.

According to the union, the average base pay for nurses at SIUH-Northwell is now $11,573, below the base pay at similar New York City hospitals.

Nurses told Eyewitness News reporter Pedro Rivera that they've seen an influx of staff leaving the borough to take better paying jobs elsewhere and believe it's time to take care of Staten Island.

"We are not the forgotten borough, we are part of New York City, and we need to care for our communities," Hagans said.

Last Thursday, the nurses asked for a 12% increase this year and a 10% increase in 2025.

The hospital countered with 3% in 2025, 2025 and 4% in 2026, union officials said.

So the two sides remain far apart.

In a statement from Northwell, which runs SIUH, they say they will continue to bargain in good faith with the union on its contract.

It went on to say in part, "our goal is to reach an agreement that continues to provide our valued nurses with competitive compensation and benefits and ensures a safe, supportive working environment that enables them to provide exceptional care that our patients and community have come to trust."

The current contract expires March 31.

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