NEW YORK—Two big bonuses producing pay parity between public sector and private sector hospital nurses, mandatory safe-staffing ratios at the bedside highlight the new pact between the New York State Nurses Association and the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation, the government agency which runs city’s 11 public hospitals and associated clinics.

After the bonuses, of $16,006 per nurse in the pact’s first year and $5,551 in its second, nurses get a 9.25% raise over the last three years of a five-and-a-half-year contract.

The pact, unveiled July 31 by a mediator—whose recommendations were binding—cheered NYSNA members the union interviewed. Nurses approved it by a 99%-1% margin.

The contract is significant not just because of its numbers but because it implements a key NNU nationwide cause: Safe staffing, reducing the ratio of patients per nurse in key hospital areas such as emergency rooms, intensive care units, and coronary care units.

Repeated studies show that lower nurse-to-patient ratios, down to 1-to-2 in ICUs, for example, improve patient care and reduce mortality rates.

Short-staffing in the hospitals and the high nurse-to-patient ratios also led to nurse shortages, which the city corporation solved by spending $590 million in 2022 alone to bring in temp visiting nurses. NYSNA, a National Nurses United affiliate, said public hospitals had 2,000 nurse vacancies, a fourth of their allotted staff, at the time the pact was announced.

Sonia Lawrence, RN, president of the State Nurses Association’s city health and hospitals sector, told the state group her nurses “helped save New York through the Covid-19 pandemic and get the city back on its feet. We are the backbone of healthcare for all New Yorkers. This contract levels the playing field to help us recruit and retain nurses. It will strengthen our essential public health system—the largest and best in the country that delivers quality care with dignity and compassion—and help us be better prepared for whatever comes next.”

State Nurses Association Executive Director Pat Kane, RN, pointed out that the city hospitals’ nurses “have a mission to care for all New Yorkers—regardless of ability to pay or immigration status–simply regardless.  This contract gives them the resources to deliver the highest quality care because equitable pay and improved safe staffing ratios and enforcement will mean there will be more nurses at the bedside to deliver quality care to patients.”

We hope you appreciated this article. At People’s World, we believe news and information should be free and accessible to all, but we need your help. Our journalism is free of corporate influence and paywalls because we are totally reader-supported. Only you, our readers and supporters, make this possible. If you enjoy reading People’s World and the stories we bring you, please support our work by donating or becoming a monthly sustainer today. Thank you!


Press Associates
Press Associates

Press Associates Inc. (PAI), is a union news service in Washington D.C. Mark Gruenberg is the editor.