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S.I. University Hospital nurses set April 2 strike date


Nurses at Staten Island University Hospital will strike April 2 if a contract agreement isn’t reached with Northwell Health that includes substantial pay increases and also addresses staffing woes.

The nurses last week delivered a notice to hospital administrators informing them of their intent to strike. About 1,300 nurses at the hospital would be expected to walk off the job.

“We don’t want to strike, but we are ready to strike if Northwell gives us no other choice,” said  Lillian Decker, a nurse at the hospital and bargaining unit president. “Northwell tells one story in their extravagant ad campaign, but here at the hospital we see a different, bleaker story. Every day we see how nurses are burnt out, expected to do the job of more than one person, and being forced to find better jobs off Staten Island.”

The nurses’ contract expires March 31. The New York State Nurses Association and Northwell have been bargaining since December, but the nurses said that their demands for significant raises and safe-staffing ratios have been rejected. NYSNA is seeking a 12-percent raise for this year, and a 10-percent increase in 2025, while Northwell has proposed 3-percent raises for this year and next, and 4-percent increases in 2026.

Currently, the base pay for nurses at Staten Island University Hospital is $11,573 less than the average nurse salary at other private-sector hospitals across the city.

“My dream was always to work here at the very same hospital where I was born and serve my community. But, as the cost of living goes up in New York City, it’s harder and harder for me to justify staying here when our pay at Staten Island University Hospital is so much lower than at other hospitals throughout the city,” registered nurse John Vuolo said in a statement. “Without fair wages and safe staffing at our hospital, nurses like me are going to continue to leave for better jobs elsewhere, and that’s not good for Staten Island. We’re calling on Northwell to do better and invest in our community.”

The union raised concerns that Northwell intends to open a birthing center building on Staten Island, yet has not created a safe-staffing plan for the building. “[Northwell] cannot continue to invest in new buildings and their corporate brand at the expense of investing in safe patient care and the nurses who make this hospital run,” said NYSNA’s president Nancy Hagans.

NYSNA also criticized the hospital management’s decision in 2021 to eliminate satellite pharmacists who were stationed throughout the hospital. 

Earlier this month, more than 97 percent of nurses at Staten Island University Hospital who participated in a strike vote authorized going on strike. The nurses held a rally March 13 announcing the results of the strike vote outside of the hospital’s Ocean Breeze facility.

In a statement, Northwell said that it was “disappointed in NYSNA's decision to issue a strike notice but as always, our goal is to reach a fair contract.” 

“We remain optimistic that an agreement can be reached, and we will continue to bargain in good faith,” the statement said. “In the event of a strike, patient care remains our highest priority.”




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