LaborPress

Valhalla, NY –  Over a hundred members of the New York State Nurses Association at Westchester Medical Center rallied on September 7, 2022, in front of the  Medical Center.

Nurses called attention to unsafe working conditions in the hospital as a result of understaffing. In addition, they highlighted the need for a fair contract with fair and competitive wages, a real plan to recruit and retain nurses, and improved patient care through safe staffing. The hospital loses over 20 nurses a month and has failed to hire enough nurses to fill vacant positions to meet patients’ needs. 

“Our nurses are challenged daily to deliver safe patient care with short staffing,” said local bargaining unit president David Long, RN. “Our medical-surgical nurses are taking assignments of as many as 7 or 8 patients with little or no support staff. Unfortunately, many nurses are leaving because they are being overworked. We are losing more than 20 nurses monthly due to resignations and early retirements. We currently have nearly 100 vacant nursing positions.” 

Nurses sounded the alarm on poor staffing conditions and about the Westchester Medical Center administration’s refusal to put the safe staffing ratios they negotiated as part of New York’s hospital staffing law into the nurses’ union contract. The rally comes after nearly a year of negotiations between NYSNA nurses and management at Westchester Medical Center. 

Local bargaining unit second vice president, Mary Lynn Boyts, RN, said, “They refuse to put safe nurse-to-patient ratios in our contract because it will hold them accountable. Now they are refusing to negotiate a modest salary increase that will help recruit and retain nurses needed to be compliant with New York’s staffing laws.” 

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Westchester Medical Center nurses working on the frontlines have been understaffed and under-resourced. 

Nurses at Westchester Medical Center also join the over 30,000 NYSNA members who will be bargaining contracts for the first time since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. NYSNA nurses are bargaining for improved patient care, including safer staffing levels and better pay and working conditions to recruit and retain nurses. 

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