Nurses from Northwell Health’s Plainview, Syosset, and South Shore Hospitals held a demonstration outside Northwell’s New Hyde Park headquarters to demand a fair union contract on Oct. 27.
Employees of the three hospitals are currently in negotiations for a new agreement between their union, The New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA), and Northwell.
“The Northwell managers at the negotiating table are dragging their feet and disrespecting us,” said NYSNA Director at Large Marie Boyle, RN, BSN. “They don’t even seem empowered to make decisions. The longer we go without a contract, the more nurses leave, and the longer patients wait for improved conditions. We’re taking our message directly to the Northwell executives—the ones that do have the power to make decisions, but don’t ever set foot in our hospitals.”
During the rally, employees held signs, such as one that said “Patients Over Profit.” They also brought large petition boards signed by hundreds of union members to deliver to Northwell executives. However, according to NYSNA officials, executives refused to accept the petitions.
A video posted to the NYSNA Facebook page shows the workers gathering outside the Northwell headquarters at 2000 Marcus Ave., marching through the parking lot, and then discussing the cause with an executive walking into the building.
“We felt very disrespected that they refused to meet with us or even accept the petitions,” said Chrysse Blau, RN, local president at Northwell’s South Shore University Hospital. “Northwell executives still have a giant healthcare hero sign on their building, but they are not treating us, the frontline nurses, like heroes.”
Nurses are seeking a contract that includes safe staffing, fair wages and benefits, and strong health and safety protections.
On Aug. 31, nurses at Syosset and Plainview Hospitals also held informational pickets outside their respective workplaces to educate about how staffing is impacting patient care. Syosset Hospital has been working under an expired contract for almost a year.
“For more than a year, Syosset Hospital has been negotiating in good faith for a new contract for our nursing colleagues,” a Northwell Health spokesperson said in an email to the Press. “We currently have what we believe to be a fair and equitable contract offer on the table and are awaiting a response from NYSNA. As always, the hospital is appreciative of our nursing colleagues’ immeasurable contributions to the community we serve, and we remain hopeful that we will reach an agreement soon.”