Nurses at a Central New York hospital were turned away from their job yesterday after striking for 24 hours, creating a schism between management and employees.
According to local affiliate News 10 ABC, dozens of nurses at Nathan Littaeur Hospital in Gloversville, NY were denied entry into the medical center after going on strike for one day.
The strike, which nurses staged in order to demand better wages and benefits, is the culmination of a two-year-long struggle between nurses and management to improve their working conditions.
Nurses gathered on a curb outside of the hospital while awaiting a special press conference from the American Federation of Labor in response to the lockout.
When the 24-hour strike came to a close around 6:30 a.m. on Thursday, the nurses trekked towards the front doors of the hospital where they were denied entry by security.
“As you can see behind me, the NYSNA nurses have officially been locked out of Nathan Littauer hospital,” said Tara Martin of the New York State Nurses Association.
The dangers of working in healthcare are well-documented, and more than half of all nurses will experience at least one needlestick during their career.
However, the striking nurses are claiming that this inherit danger is now being transferred to patients who are no longer receiving care from the professionals they know and trust.
“This is a testament of the type of dangerous tactics that we’ve been dealing with in bargaining for the last two years. It’s a travesty to the patients of Gloversville and to the people of this community,” Martin added.
News 10 ABC is also reporting that nurses who did not participate in the curbside picketing were still allowed entry into the building.
“For them to start singling out a couple people and letting them be able to go back in and then the rest of us all want to go and they just named a few people and then they turned their backs on us and went right in,” Littaeur nurse Miriam Mustafa said.
The hospital is now imposing a lockout for the nurses that will last four days. In the meantime, management has brought in nurses from an outside agency to staff the medical center.
In response to the controversy, Nathan Littaeur Hospital issued the following statement:
“The hospital has consistently advised the Union and union-held nurses that it would lock-out striking employees for at least four days following the conclusion of the strike,” the statement read.
The statement went on to say that this is the third accusation brought against the hospital by the NYSNA. It was officially rejected by the National Labor Relations Board.