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New York hospital nurses protest staffing conditions

In addition to wages and benefits, employers should also provide workers with appropriate working conditions. Good working conditions help workers be more productive. They can also ensure that employees are happy and well adjusted so that their performance is up to par. This is basically what nurses from a New York hospital are saying, after complaining that staffing levels in their hospital are unsafe. The hospital, however, does not seem to be taking their concerns very seriously.

According to the nurses at Terence Cardinal Cooke Health Care, the low staff numbers in the hospital are inappropriate and put patients at risk. The contract of the nurse members of the New York State's Nurses Association expired in December 2013. The hospital provides care for patients with Human Immunodeficiency Virus, Acquired Immunodeficiency syndrome and developmental disabilities. The nurses have been negotiating since the contract expired and they have not yet been able to strike a deal. The nurses recently filed a notice to go on a 24-hour strike.

The health care center, however, is standing its ground, stating that the nurses only compose 10 percent of the workforce and a strike would have a serious effect on hospital operations. Hospital officials have stated that they believe that its staffing is appropriate. They even added that the staffing exceeded the regulatory requirements.

The New York State Nursing Association issued a press release, which included statements from one of the nurses in the hospital. The nurse, assigned to the HIV/AIDS unit, stated that she is the only nurse in the unit and while she stays late and does not take breaks, she cannot be everywhere at the same time, pressing the point of low staffing.

An employment dispute, whether in health care or in any other industry, can be resolved through communication and compromise. If both parties are unable to come to an agreement, mediation from a New York employment law professional may be necessary. In any case, it is always a good idea to become as educated as possible and to understand what is involved.

Source: Capital New York, "Manhattan nurse-staffing dispute could signal more to come," Dan Goldberg, Aug. 6, 2014

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