The New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA) is currently taking a vote in which nurses will decide whether or not the union can send the hospital a ten-day strike notice. To strike or not is a dilemma faced by every professional registered nurse. We urge you to think carefully about the issues and the impact that a strike could have on you, your family and our patients.
We greatly value our nurses’ skill, and their dedication to providing compassionate care to our patients. Our commitment to nurses includes ensuring that they have the information they need to make informed decisions. Please keep in mind, for instance, that our hospital is offering competitive wage and benefit proposals that a strike puts in jeopardy, including a 10 percent wage increase over four years and no changes to the existing, generous benefits package.
All of us at the hospital want to work with RNs to address key workplace and professional issues. NYSNA leadership has a national agenda focused on implementing rigid staffing ratios, but we believe greater use of existing Professional Practice Committees (PPCs) to be the answer. Our PPC’s are the envy of the Industry.
NYSNA has acknowledged publicly that staffing at Mount Sinai is better than at any of the other hospitals that are taking strike votes. We are the only Magnet hospital involved in these contract talks, and have maintained our Magnet designation since 2004 through a commitment to shared governance, nurse empowerment and the best outcomes for patients.
Costs and Consequences of a Strike
- A strike would have a long-lasting, negative impact on the hospital and everyone who works here.
- Since we cannot ask who will cross the picket line, nor can we require you to cross it, we have to plan as if no one will.
- To ensure patient safety during a strike, we must:
- Arrange to bring in qualified RNs to cover during the strike. If this happens, we are required to pay them for a minimum of five days. If there is a strike, nurses must plan for a minimum of five days of lost wages.
- Move patients to other hospitals.
- Along with no pay, there are no contributions to pension plans and no medical benefits for striking nurses.
- The financial impact of a strike on the Hospital would be significant, and would limit our ability to provide wage increases and other benefits to RNs and other employees.
Top 3 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Voting for a Strike
- The union wants me to strike. What do I want?
- Am I willing to go against my professional commitment to my patients and their families?
- What am I really striking for, and what are the chances that compromising my professional commitment will make any difference?
Calls to Action
- If nurses vote to strike, they must be prepared to strike, and not assume that there will be a quick resolution. Under the union’s bylaws, it will take roughly 1,900 nurses to authorize a strike. If you are not ready to strike and are worried or uncertain about what could happen to you, our patients, and the hospital – you must vote no to a strike.
- It is our hope that we can still engage with NYSNA in serious discussions about the central issues of wages and benefits. We remain committed to reaching a fair contract agreement that rewards the essential contributions of nurses to outstanding patient care. We urge you to think carefully about the issues, and vote no.