Nathan Littauer Hospital has contracted with a staffing agency to fill in during a planned two-day strike over Labor Day by members of the NYS Nurses Association, the hospital said in a statement.
The union announced their strike last week and said it was mainly over inadequate staffing levels at the hospital. Nathan Littauer said the union has dropped their staffing demands and are issuing “intentionally misleading” statements.
“The union continues to talk about safe staffing when the union has dropped all of its staffing demands,” said the hospital in a statement sent by public relations coordinator Carla Kolbe. “To repeat: staffing is not the issue we are currently negotiating with NYSNA.”
The hospital said during the first six months of this year the average patient-to-RN ratio on the medical-surgical unit was 4-1.
“We are proud of the safe environment we have created for our patients and for those who care for them,” said the hospital. “This core standard will not change at any time. Not ever.”
The hospital added when the nurses “choose to walk off the job and abandon our patients during their upcoming strike we assure our patients that the hospital, nursing home and all of our outpatient centers will be open and appropriately staffed.”
When reached for comment a NYSNA spokesman said the union has not dropped their staffing demands. “Staffing is still an issue,” he said.
The spokesman provided a statement from Nathan Littauer and NYSNA member Marion Enright, a registered nurse, who said there have been over 30 official complaints filed against the hospital in the first six months of the year as well as 150 shifts in August alone that have been short staffed.
“It’s really hard to argue with the facts,” said Enright, “Inadequate staffing is not good for the community, it's not good for the hospital and, most importantly, it’s proven not to be good for the patients. Nathan Littauer has to do what's right for Gloversville and agree to a fair contract."
Nathan Littauer’s Kolbe did not return a request for comment.
NYSNA is planning the two-day walkout at Nathan Littauer and a one-day walkout at Samaritan Medical Center in Watertown, and St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Utica.
Labor negotiations between the two sides began in late 2013 but have seen little progress. The hospital employs about 130 registered nurses that are NYSNA members. The union held a one-day strike Jan. 6, which was followed by a four-day lockout by hospital management, who hired replacement nurses during the strike.