Albany Med Nurses Authorize Strike, Rally Outside Hospital | WAMC

Albany Med Nurses Authorize Strike, Rally Outside Hospital

Sep 7, 2020

Nurses at Albany Medical Center have authorized a potential strike over their ongoing contract dispute with the hospital. 

Nurses rallied midday Monday outside Albany Medical Center:  they’ve authorized a potential strike over their ongoing contract dispute with the hospital. Their union representative, New York State Nurses Association’s John Hamelin  says negotiations with Albany Med have stalled, as nurses accuse administrators of privately cutting their hours, staffing, and salaries – as well as limiting their input over safety measures during the coronavirus pandemic. 

“They’ve been working at this for more than two years and today, on labor day, we have the support of a number of different organizations from the Capital Region, including the Capital District Area Labor Federation and the U.S. Steel Workers.”

Lisa Case is a Registered Nurse who works in the hospital’s operating room

"We have been tirelessly especially through the COVID.  They're,  AMC is trying to make us out as the heroes but yet they... you know that we're still understaffed, we're still you know they took away our merit increases for a year and we're still having things held from us.  And you know, we love working here and this is why we're fighting so hard to get this contract."

Under the new authorization, nurses could go on strike in as soon as 10 days if an agreement is not reached.

"We have th supermajority vote, so we have the majority that we can strike. We have the option that we can give them the notice to strike. However,  we haven't given the notice yet. Our goal is not to strike. we would like to settle the contract."

Albany Med responded to a request for comment  by email, stating in part

“Albany Med continues to negotiate in good faith with the New York State Nurses Association. Our 2,500 nurses are the heart of our organization …    we are concerned that NYSNA did not request a special events permit as required by law for this picket from the City of Albany, particularly when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend collaboration with state and local health officials for events and gatherings.. Such a permit would provide important information such as the particular site of picketing. We would have hoped Albany Common Council President Corey Ellis, who is also NYSNA’s Upstate Political Director, respected this guidance for security and safety during the pandemic.  “

Corey Ellis could not be reached for comment.

Here is the full text of the statement from Albany Med:

"Albany Med continues to negotiate in good faith with the New York State Nurses Association. Our 2,500 nurses are the heart of our organization. We understand our mission of patient care, research and education is only possible with the compassionate expertise of our entire workforce. That is why, despite a year-to-date $25.6 million operating loss resulting from the coronavirus pandemic, Albany Medical Center is one of several U.S. hospitals that has not laid off or furloughed any staff. We must ensure that any contract agreement is both fair to all our employees and fiscally responsible, so that we may continue our mission as our community expects and deserves. Quality and safety are always our highest priorities. All decisions are made to provide a safe environment for patients and employees. During this picket, as at all times,  Albany Med will do everything possible to keep our workforce, our patients and our visitors safe. That said, we are concerned that NYSNA did not request a special events permit as required by law for this picket from the City of Albany, particularly when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend collaboration with state and local health officials for events and gatherings. Such a permit would provide important information such as the particular site of picketing. We would have hoped Albany Common Council President Corey Ellis, who is also NYSNA’s Upstate Political Director, respected this guidance for security and safety during the pandemic.  Despite this, Albany Med is prepared to do everything in our ability to protect the safety of our workforce, our patients, our visitors and picketers."