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UPDATE: Nurses at Brooklyn Hospital Vote Overwhelmingly to Strike

Impasse between management and 500-member union centers on proposed health and pension benefit cuts.

Update, Sept. 8, 5:55 a.m.: The union representing 500 nurses at Brooklyn Hospital, The New York State Nurses Association, announced Wednesday that a strike would begin on Monday, Sept. 19.

The union said they sent hospital administrators a 10-day walk-out notification required by law to ensure continuity of patient care. However, it seemed likely that some services at the hospital, which is part of the Columbia Presbyterian Healthcare System, would be affected.

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The union representing registered nurses at today announced the results of on whether to call a strike over what they called proposed pension, healthcare and take-home pay cuts.

The members voted overwhelmingly for a walk-out, according to the union representing the healthcare workers, the New York State Nurses Association.

By law, the nurses cannot strike without giving at least 10 days notice to hospital management to ensure patients are adequately cared for in the event of a walk-out.

The vote was only an "authorization" to strike. The decision to follow through on that threat lay with union leaders. 

"As nurses, we are absolutely committed to providing the best quality care to our patients and the community, but hospital management has taken the stance that they are not going to acknowledge the nurses' value," said Roberta Murphy, who represented the registered nurses in negotiations with the hospital, which is affiliated with Columbia Presbyterian Healthcare System.

Brooklyn Hospital representatives did return requests for comment. 

The nurses did receive one reprieve from management. After letting their employees' healthcare coverage expire on Sunday, Brooklyn Hospital reinstated benefits retroactively for 30 days for the nurses and their families.

At the heart of the impasses was a proposal by the hospital to remove the option to retire at age 60 with a full pension. 

The nurses claimed that total concessions demanded by management would cost each member $6,180 in lost benefits, equating to a pay cut of $1,680.

“A proposal like this won’t allow Brooklyn Hospital to recruit and retain experienced, professional nurses. It’s bad for the nurses, bad for the hospital and bad for the community,” Murphy said.

J September 07, 2011 at 10:42 AM
They wont gets much public support in a time when unemployment is at its lowest, and the economy is in turmoil. Their cause may be right, but its the wrong time.
Thomas Dreiling September 07, 2011 at 11:32 AM
I've been hospitalized several times, the doctors breeze in and breeze out, 98% of your care comes from nurses. I say give them what they want.
Mary P September 08, 2011 at 02:04 AM
They wont gets much public support in a time when unemployment is at its lowest, and the economy is in turmoil. Their cause may be right, but its the wrong time Despite the unemployment, does that give Richard Becker, the CEO of TBH the right to collect 1.6 million as his 2010 salary and yet cut Nurses salaries? He has done squat for this hospital. The RNs are the ones at the bedside who miss their meals and break their backs caring for the patients. He wants to cut the experience pay so he can give himself a fat bonus yet we barely get the supplies we need because vendors want their money. Shame on you Dr Becker! Go back to DC!
jill September 08, 2011 at 10:16 PM
I support them. I am part of the public

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