Ellis nurses authorize strike

Ellis nurses authorize strike

Nurses at Ellis Hospital and Bellevue Woman's Center have authorized a three-day strike.

Nurses at Ellis Hospital and Bellevue Women’s Center have authorized a three-day strike.

More than 600 nurses at both facilities in Schenectady could go on strike unless they reach a contract agreement with hospital management.

Nurses at Ellis Hospital have argued it’s understaffed.

A New York state arbitrator ruled last week the hospital consistently failed to follow safe staffing standards.

The hospital said in a statement they have not received an official strike notice from the union. They believe they are bargaining in good faith and are confident in their negotiation team.

Ellis Medicine released the following statement on Tuesday morning:

“As Ellis Medicine continues its ongoing contract negotiations with the nurses union, we would like to address the concerns raised and assure our community of our dedication to patient care and our colleagues.

“First and foremost, we want to clarify that there has been no official strike notice from the union, and we remain actively engaged in bargaining in good faith. We are confident in our negotiation team and believe that our nurses are equally committed to reaching a fair and sustainable agreement.

“While avoiding a strike is our preferred outcome, Ellis Medicine does have robust contingency plans in place to ensure safe access to care. Our top priority is the health and well-being of our patients and community, and we are fully prepared to continue providing uninterrupted, compassionate care.

“Furthermore, we remain committed to safe staffing levels despite the challenges posed by the national nursing shortage. The union’s claims to the contrary are not accurate. In fact, a recent ruling by a third-party arbitrator recognized the hospital’s extraordinary efforts to improve staffing levels through proactive recruiting, extra pay and bonuses, and supplemental staffing.

“Ellis Medicine is proud to be a market leader in nursing pay and benefits. Our proposals before the union build on our established benchmarks, continuing our tradition as a supportive and rewarding workplace for dedicated nurses. This commitment was reflected in our ability to hire more than 200 nurses in the past two years, the return of 50 former Ellis nurses over the past 18 months, and a near 40% drop in nursing turnover since 2021.

“We do not believe that a strike benefits anyone, least of all our community. We trust that our nurses want an agreement that is both fair and responsible. Our goal is to achieve a contract that balances the financial realities of today’s challenging healthcare environment while maintaining competitive and fair benefits and compensation.”