The New York State Nurses Association is gearing up for another strike at Nathan Littauer Hospital. It’s scheduled for Thursday and Friday. The hospital has responded by saying it will hire a staffing company to cover for the striking nurses and lock out the union nurses until Tuesday.
This would be the second nurses strike and subsequent lockout at the hospital this year. The reason for this labor strife? The two sides have been unsuccessful in their efforts to negotiate a new contract since the end of 2013. Two and a half years is far too long.
As the nurses and hospital administration argue and level allegations against each other, hospital patients and the community are caught in the middle, and they’re justifiably concerned.
It’s time for both sides to make concessions and reach an agreement.
Negotiation requires compromise. Neither the nurses nor the hospital administrators should expect to get everything they want.
The main points of contention between the hospital and nurses are health insurance costs, pensions and staffing levels. Nurses say the hospital is short-staffed, but the hospital contends safe staffing levels are in place.
The hospital must ensure its patients receive quality care when needed, and the nurses are the ones who are most capable of offering the service. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship that serves to give area residents health care. Both sides must remember what’s most important here: the patient.