ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Albany Medical Center nurses are prepared to strike on Tuesday, December 1. For 24 hours, the New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA) will strike at Albany Med. Albany Med nurse Patti Pinho says she wishes this could have been avoided.
Many nurses are demonstrating for better wages and benefits. “Nobody wants to be on strike. None of us wanted this strike,” said Pinho.
She was hoping tomorrow’s one-day strike was not going to happen, especially with what’s going on in terms of the pandemic. NEWS10 asked Pinho about how she felt about Albany Med officials stating that striking during a pandemic was irresponsible.
“I feel it’s disgusting that the hospital has forced us to do this,” said she.
Albany Med says they are prepared for the strike. Officials say patient care will be continued and not be compromised. The hospital will have temporary nurses replace any nurse who chooses to strike. They will all be tested for COVID-19, masked, and screened.
Pinho says there could have been a better alternative. “It’s sad that the hospital is willing to spend literally millions of dollars to do this instead of settling this contract with the nurses,” she said.
For more than two years, the New York Nurses Association and Albany Med say they have been negotiating in good faith. They are still at a standstill on a contract.
The nurses have been demonstrating through rallies for better wages, benefits, and protection during the pandemic. Local union members say they have stood by the nurses’ side.
“They are a humble group and they’re not trying to become millionaires. They are not looking to get this as a money grab, they want their efforts to be recognized and respected. Albany Med management has an opportunity to do that, and they are just choosing not to,” said John Van Denburgh III, President of Communication Workers for America Local 118.
Pinho says they are hoping to reach an agreement with Albany Med and get back to their patients.
“We are prepared to return to work for our next scheduled shift on Wednesday. That is the strike we filed for. It’s an unconditional return to work in 24 hours,” she said.