Nurses voted overwhelmingly Tuesday night to authorize a strike as one more effort to negotiate a fair contract with Nathan Littauer Hospital management, according to a New York State Nurses Association release.
It’s been almost a year since the nurses’ most recent four-year contract expired on Dec. 31, 2010. During this time, the nurses’ negotiating team brought in a federal mediator to help reach a settlement. But after repeated sessions with hospital management, the 144 nurses represented by NYSNA have not had any luck.
“Nurses believe that management continues to make demands that will force experienced nurses away from Nathan Littauer and make it very difficult to attract qualified RNs — which are in high demand during this nursing shortage,” the release said.
The nurses’ main demand throughout negotiations has been a better staff-to-patient ratio. They have stated that patient needs are increasing while positions in both the maternity and pediatrics wards have been downsized, resulting in additional responsibilities for the nurses.
Under federal labor law, a strike cannot start until 10 days after the nurses’ negotiating committee serves the hospital with a notice of intent. The release said the notice has yet to be served.
The next negotiating session is Friday.
“Nathan Littauer nurses are taking this step because they want to make sure that highly qualified nurses will remain here to care for our community — now and in the future,” the release said.
NYSNA spokesman Mark Genovese and Nathan Littauer spokeswoman Cheryl McGrattan could not be reached for immediate comment Wednesday.
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Categories: Schenectady County