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Nurses at two LI hospitals settle contract with Northwell Health


This story has been updated to reflect the provisional contract deal for nurses at LIJ Valley Stream. 

Nurses at two Northwell Health hospitals on Long Island have reached tentative contract deals, averting a strike that was set to start Feb. 21.

The tentative deal reached by Northwell Health and the New York State Nurses Association would provide up to 20 percent in raises for about 310 nurses and 161 other health-care workers at Peconic Bay Medical Center over the length of a three-year contract, the union announced Friday. Under the pact, the nurses’ new starting salary will be $97,597, up from $87,531. The union and Northwell Health also negotiated improvements to safe staffing standards and stronger safe staffing enforcement mechanisms.

The provisional deal, which runs from Jan. 1 this year through Dec. 31, 2026, must still be ratified by the hospital workers, who are expected to vote Tuesday.

The union stated that the deal was reached Thursday following “a marathon bargaining session that began on Wednesday.”

“Our NYSNA negotiating committee worked hard on this tentative agreement and are proud of the safe staffing improvements and the fact that it will take us from some of the lowest paid healthcare workers on Long Island to being competitive with other hospitals,” said Chris Honor, the local president at Peconic. “That will help us hire and retain enough nurses to provide quality care — our No. 1 goal as nurses and healthcare professionals.” 

The contracts for nurses at Peconic Bay and a second Northwell facility, Long Island Jewish Valley Stream, expired Dec. 31. More than 99 percent of the hospital workers who participated in a Feb. 1 strike vote approved a walkout. The deals were reached just days before NYSNA members at Peconic Bay were set to go on strike.

LIJ deal not far behind

Soon after Peconic Bay's provisional contract was announced, NYSNA claimed that Northwell refused to agree to raises for nurses at LIJ Valley Stream that were comparable to those in Peconic Bay’s pact. The union and the hospital's management settled a tentative contract on Sunday, according to the union. 

Prior to the deal being settled, NYSNA claimed that Northwell negotiators rejected the increases because the workers and community at LIJ were “characteristically different,” a phrase that Northwell Health officials vehemently denied using. The union alleged that Northwell did not agree to the same raises because LIJ Valley Stream has more patients and nurses who were people of color than in other Northwell facilities, which Northwell stated was a "misrepresentation of what happened at the negotiations table."

But three days before the strike was set to begin, NYSNA and Northwell reached a tentative agreement on behalf of LIJ Valley Stream nurses that would bring their salary levels up to what nurses at other Northwell hospitals are making, according to the union. 

NYSNA declined to detail the percentage of raises the nurses would receive pending the contract's ratification, or what their new starting salaries would be. 

That pact would also establish new nurse positions in the emergency department holding area. Members will vote on whether to ratify the pact Tuesday evening.

Sandra Armstrong, a local leader at Long Island Jewish Valley Stream who has worked at the hospital for three decades, applauded the tentative deal. "Nurses put our lives on the line because we care about our patients. That’s why I became a nurse, and that’s why we were ready to do whatever it takes to achieve safe staffing and fair wages to retain nurses and provide excellent care for our Valley Stream community," she said. "I’m proud of our nurses for remaining united and ready to fight until Northwell agreed to a fair contract.”

The deal would also enforce safe-staffing standards. Currently, there is one nurse for every eight patients at LIJ, while the medical-surgical departments at other Northwell in the area have staffing ratios of one nurse for every six patients.

“Congratulations to our members at LIJ Valley Stream, who fought hard for safe staffing and respectful wages to recruit and retain nurses for Valley Stream patients,” NYSNA President Nancy Hagans said. “Their willingness to fight for a fair contract will ensure Northwell is investing in safe patient care.”


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