Public sector nurses rally for safer staffing and better pay at Lincoln Hospital

There was a moment of silence outside Lincoln Hospital in the Bronx, on Thursday, in honor of the nurses who died during the city’s battle with Covid-19.

The city’s 9,000 public sector nurses, their union, and local lawmakers believe the best way for the city to show its appreciation is with a new contract— their current contract expired Thursday.

They’re making two key demands. One: they want safer staffing ratios. 

The second demand: wage parity.  

Nurses at Lincoln Hospital say that on a good day, they have three nurses in each zone of the emergency department, but most days there are only two, sometimes only one.

After the recent private sector success of the nurses at Mount Sinai and Montefiore, the pay disparity is now greater than ever.  A public sector nurse now makes more than $19,000 less than their counterpart in the private sector. 

Bargaining sessions began in mid-February, and there are two more scheduled this month.

A representative for NYC Health and Hospitals called their nurses "essential" and added, "NYC Health and hospitals are grateful for the hard work, dedication, and sacrifice our highly-skilled nurses make every day."

By law, public sector unions are prohibited from going on strike. But other actions are still on the table, leaders say.

Kane said they have other "tools" available, adding, "Stay tuned."