New York, NY – Langone’s Abrupt Withdrawal from City-Wide Bargaining Threatens
Stable Jobs and Patient Care for New Yorkers.
On the evening of Thursday, April 19th, NYU Langone workers from NYU Tisch, NYU Langone-Brooklyn and the Hospital of Joint Diseases hosted a community forum to address their concerns about the hospital giant’s divisive behavior and the potential impact this could have on stable middle-class jobs and quality care for New Yorkers. New York State Assembly Member and Chair of the Health Committee Richard Gottfried attended the forum, and gave a rousing speech of support.
NYU Langone abruptly withdrew from the city-wide bargaining unit represented by the League of Voluntary Hospitals in 2016, at a time when they were not permitted to do so; refused to honor collectively bargained terms impacting professional and technical workers and, in 2017, chose to spend resources on fighting the League and 1199SEIU by filing a lawsuit that we believe is baseless. The nearly 7,000 workers represented by 1199SEIU—which include clerical staff, housekeepers, nurses and technical workers—fear that this move could reduce labor resources necessary for the best patient care, jeopardize the benefits they and their families depend on and cause mass exodus of a highly-skilled, experienced workforce. As the League bargaining approach has ensured good jobs and quality care to New York City for 50 years, they can’t think of any reason why NYU would want to leave the League other than to isolate them from their fellow workers and slash the benefits they need.
“I believe NYU pulled out of the League because of money. They are happy to pay for expensive billboards and TV ads—not to mention bonuses to their top executives, but I think they’re perfectly willing to take money away from workers who tend to patients and keep their hospitals running well,” said Marie James, a Secretary in the Cardiology department at NYU Langone’s flagship campus in Manhattan. “I’ve been with NYU for 19 years, and I’m nervous that they’re trying to take away the healthcare I rely on to keep my Multiple Sclerosis from getting any worse. I can’t afford to pay out of pocket for the costly medication I need to take. I already walk with a cane—I don’t want to end up in wheelchair.”
With contract negotiations approaching by this fall, the workers and their allies are anxious about what NYU’s troubling behavior could mean for our city. NYU has a responsibility to focus on people over profits. They are calling on the hospital chain to sign a written guarantee that they won’t try to take away the benefits workers rely on in the 2018 contract negotiations.