Win for PBMC nurses: new contracts approved

An overwhelming number of Peconic Bay Medical Center nurses and healthcare workers voted to ratify new three-year contracts with Northwell on Wednesday, Feb. 21, which include long-awaited wage increases and safe staffing improvements.

Approximately 85 percent of New York State Nurses Association medical professionals at PBMC and LIJ Valley Stream voted in favor to approve the new contracts after a full day of in-person voting on Tuesday, Feb. 20 and online absentee voting on Wednesday.

In a news release, NYSNA stated the new agreement for PBMC — which is in effect until Dec. 31, 2026 — includes:

  • Improvements to safe staffing standards, including ratio and staffing level improvements to cardiac catheterization, telemetry, and emergency departments. Many units must also now staff to higher levels based on patient acuity. 
  • Stronger, expedited safe staffing enforcement. 
  • Enhanced language in the contract to ensure members get meals and breaks. 
  • Protection of NYSNA health and pension benefits. 
  • Eligibility to participate in Northwell’s pre- and post-age 65 retiree health insurance. 
  • Increased tuition reimbursement. 
  • Average wage increases of 18-20% over three years, depending on experience and job title. 
  • Greater voice in epidemic and pandemic preparation and safety, including participation in the Infection Prevention Committee.

Over 99% of the healthcare workers and nurses voted in favor of a strike on Feb. 1, if the negotiating board determined it is necessary. An assessment was made prior to the vote where union members identified pay parity and safe staffing as two items they wanted to see on the agenda for negotiations.

If this agreement was not reached, over 400 registered nurses, x-ray technicians, pharmacists and respiratory therapists and others intended to walk out of the hospital on Feb. 21.

However, with both NYSNA members voting in favor of the new contracts at the respective Northwell facilities, a potential strike has been prevented.

“We are thrilled to win a contract that respects healthcare workers and patients in Suffolk County — the wage increases will help make Peconic Bay competitive, so we can hire and retain enough staff for safe patient care,” said Chris Honor, local bargaining president, PBMC nurse and NYSNA Southeastern Regional Director, in a statement. “We were so excited to work with our union siblings at LIJ Valley Stream for the first time and look forward to continuing to advocate for our patients and build worker power together.”