May 12, 2023 | News Story

Nurses and Supporters Rally to Say "It Costs NYC Too Much to Keep Nurse Pay So Low!"

On Wednesday, hundreds of NYSNA members who work for NYC Health+Hospitals and Mayoral agencies rallied at Foley Square to sound the alarm on the crisis of understaffing and high turnover that threatens care for the vulnerable patients who depend on our city’s public health system. Nurses are calling for pay equity as a matter of healthcare and racial justice, and were joined at the rally by Rev. Al Sharpton, elected leaders, and allies including the NYC CLC.

Nearly 2,000 nurses – adding up to 25% of staff nurse positions – are missing from our public hospitals after a mass exodus of staff since 2020 due to low pay and pandemic burnout. The city spent a whopping $197 million on temporary travel nurse contracts in just the first three months of 2022 to fill those staffing gaps. That’s more than it would cost over an entire year to raise public sector nurse wages to parity with private sector nurse pay. Even by a conservative estimate, the city likely spent over half a billion dollars on temporary travel nurse contracts in 2022. It’s costing New York City more to keep nurse pay so low.

NYSNA President Nancy Hagans, RN, BSN, CCRN said: “It doesn’t take an advanced degree in mathematics to understand that if the city spent half a billion dollars on temporary travel nurses last year, they can afford to take just a portion of that and spend it on pay parity for staff nurses at our public hospitals so that every New Yorker has a qualified nurse at their bedside. It’s the right thing to do. And it’s the fiscally sound thing to do.” Read more here and in amNY.