ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Albany Medical Center nurses are ready to strike. For 24 hours on December 1, nurses of the New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA) will strike at Albany Med. Many nurses are demonstrating for better wages and benefits.
Lenore Granich-Berghela has been a nurse at Albany Med for 15 years. She says these nurses are not walking out; on the contrary, she feels like the nurses are being forced out.
“We’ve been trying to secure a contract over two-and-a-half years, but the bulk of the reason why we’re striking for 24 hours is because of the unfair labor practices that we’re experiencing with the hospital,” says Granich.
Albany Med released a statement that read in part: “Albany Med has negotiated in good faith with NYSNA for more than two years in an effort to reach an agreement. Albany Med presented a fair contract to the union; that contract was rejected. The proposal reflected Albany Med’s fundamental principles of safety, fairness, fiscal responsibility, and quality. It included a merit plan allowing three percent pay raises for the next three years, a competitive contract for our local market, staffing levels to national benchmarks, and individual choice regarding union membership.”
Granich says, “Albany Med is not paying attention to retention and it comes down to benefits, wages, and also protecting us and making sure we have the proper PPE and supplies to do our job. And to keep us safe.”
“Albany Med has taken all the necessary steps to ensure the continued and uninterrupted operations of the Medical Center during this labor action. We are and have been comprehensively prepared for this event,” says Dr. Dennis P. McKenna, Albany Med CEO.
Interim Chief Nursing Officer Dr. Louis Filhour noted that on December 1, temporary nurses will be capable of providing care for patients while the nurses are on strike. Filhour said, “These nurses are experienced at coming into new environments and performing at the level Albany Med and our patients expect.” Granich says that is disrespectful to the institution’s current nurses. “You’re going to spend all that money on somebody else instead of taking care of your own? That speaks volumes to the amount of disrespect this administration has for its nursing staff.”
“A strike will be a painful experience for Albany Med,” Spreer Albert said. “However, our patients and colleagues must know that our mission continues. Our community needs us, especially as we continue to face the coronavirus pandemic together. A strike will not interfere with patient care and safety. We look forward to resolving our differences fairly. Albany Med remains a partner in the community. It is a role we take most seriously.”
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