Staten Island University Hospital (SIUH) Executive Director Donna Proske, RN, today issued the following statement in response to today’s decision by the New York State Nurses Association to issue a strike notice at SIUH’s North campus:
“We are extremely disappointed that the New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA), representing approximately 1,050 nurses at Staten Island University Hospital’s (SIUH) North campus, rejected SIUH’s last, best and final contract offer, opting instead to issue a notice to strike, effective 7 a.m. on July 8.
Our upmost concern is the safety of our patients. We have taken aggressive steps to ensure that the hospital remains open if NYSNA pursues its strike plan. In preparing for a strike by NYSNA nurses, SIUH planned extensively for the best approach to providing our patients with the highest quality of bedside care. In order to achieve this goal, we contracted with a nationally respected nursing agency to staff our hospital with highly qualified professional nurses.
Non-union nurses at our sister hospitals throughout the North Shore-LIJ Health System have also volunteered to provide professional nursing services at our North Site facility.
Both North Shore-LIJ nurses and the nurses selected from the staffing agency will undergo extensive orientation and training that will enable them to seamlessly transition if they are called in to support SIUH. They are fully prepared to carry out best-practice protocols in use at SIUH, including nursing expertise in specialized areas of care such as the intensive care and critical care units.
The Rejected Contract Offer
In addition to our patients and family members, another major concern is the wellbeing of our nursing staff. We take our negotiations very seriously. Over the past eight months, we have held 34 bargaining sessions. Among other things, the contract offer that NYSNA rejected this morning included:
- 3 percent wage increases each year of the contract, with retroactive pay to January 1, 2015.
- Increases in retiree health benefits to $5,000 in 2015 and $5,500 in 2017.
- A commitment to increase our staff by approximately 77 full-time nurses, including additional staff in the Emergency Department, further enhancing the hospital’s patient care capabilities.
We are disappointed that NYSNA leadership did not give our nurses the opportunity to vote on this fair and fiscally-responsible final offer. We look forward to additional discussions in hopes of avoiding a strike.”