Nurses picket at Albany Med for better benefits, more staffing

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Nurses at the Albany Medical Center were outside walking the picket line on Wednesday, protesting what they sat are unsafe staffing levels.

Albany Med nurses have been in contract negotiations for over a year and say they just want their voices heard.

Nurse Jennifer Coppola says nurses want to make a difference to their patients, and quality care comes down to adequate staffing in the hospital.

The nurses received a lot of supporting Wednesday morning while protesting what they say are over 200 vacant nursing positions. The stress of the shortage is taking a toll on them, especially those who say they are so dedicated to their patients, they’ve been working extra shifts.

“There are times when we don’t have enough nurses to cover the patients safely,” said Coppola. “We are a very high risk facility here. We have high acuity and we really need the staff to support each other so people can continue to get the best care.”

The nurses are also asking for increased wages and benefits—- incentives that will make nurses want to stay employed at Albany med

“We got an email sent out that says 71% of our nurses are 5 years of experience or less. People come, get their trauma experience and leave for better opportunities,” said Coppola. “Many leave for insurance companies where they get better benefits packages.”

The hospital’s spokesperson Jeffrey Gordon responded to the strike in a statement on Wednesday:

Today it is business as usual for Albany Med.  The patients and public will see no disruption in care whatsoever. Albany Med has been negotiating in good faith for more than a year to achieve a contract that is fair to all of our employees and to all of our nurses. We also cannot agree to any deal that provides a benefit for some employees that we cannot offer to the rest of the workforce, or a deal so costly that it endangers our ability to deliver the highest quality health care to people in our region. All decisions, on staffing and every other aspect of our hospital, are made to ensure we deliver the highest quality care to our patients in the safest possible environment.

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