‘We literally all need to walk out’: Nurse practitioner says general nurse strike is imminent


A nurse practitioner and TikToker is warning of a likely strike among New York’s almost 30,000 nurses in December.

In a TikTok posted on Sept. 16, Chris Lucia, a nurse practitioner working in New York City, says that union representatives for the New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA) gave him a button while he was at work that says “We’re At Work, Where Are You?”

Lucia says the button illustrates the anger nurses feel about being understaffed and underpaid while executives like “the vice president of one of the largest hospital systems in New York” haven’t entered the hospital since the pandemic’s beginning.

“And he’s making millions,” Lucia says of the vice president in his TikTok. “Meanwhile, they can’t afford to staff us appropriately.”

Lucia says that the NYSNA union contract is up in December 2022 and will be up for renewal and renegotiation and that when the vice president in question “insisted” on doing negotiations via Zoom, “New York nurses [were] not happy.”

Lucia says that nurses are working under challenging conditions; he adds that they’re understaffed, being abused, and that the number of experienced nurses is running out.

“We’re pissed. And we are 30,000 nurses,” Lucia says in his TikTok, which had over 95,000 views on Tuesday. “And if our demands are not met and if negotiations do not happen the way that we want them to happen, 30,000 nurses are talking about striking.”

@nursechrislucia #nursesoftiktok #nurse #ernurse #icunurse #nursing #nursingstudent #travelnurse #nurselife ♬ original sound – Chris Lucia

In an interview with the Daily Dot, Lucia said that he’s been an ER nurse for five years and has become a nurse influencer and advocate during that time.

“The corruption and greed in healthcare is out of control,” Lucia told the Daily Dot. “I’m tired of seeing patients and nurses suffer while all these corporate administrators who never even speak to a patient are pocketing millions of dollars.”

In a follow-up video, Lucia lists the names of executives at New York hospitals, including New York Presbyterian and Montefiore Medical Center, and how much money they’ve made during the pandemic, according to a LoHud article.

In his TikTok, Lucia says Dr. Laura Forese at New York Presbyterian and Dr. Philip Ozuah at Montefiore Medical Center each made over $7 million in 2020 alone; Dr. Steven Corwin of New York Presbyterian made over $11 million that year.

“These people are making money based on the fact that they are depriving people of proper medical care,” Lucia says in another TikTok. “These people are pocketing money that they could be putting towards actually staffing us appropriately and paying us appropriately in order to retain experienced nurses.”

In other TikToks, Lucia lists how much federal funding was given to New York State hospitals during the pandemic, which ranges from over $400 million to over $1 billion. Citing the same LoHud article, Lucia says that New York Presbyterian paid their executives almost $68 million in 2020, with Montefiore paying over $27 million.

Lucia also says that NYSNA did a “call-in day of action” outside the New York State Department of Health in Albany to express the urgency of renegotiations for the union contract. Lucia stressed that because nurses are at the frontlines in hospitals and set the standard of care, they deserve just compensation.

“I think a lot of us would be OK with our current pay if we were staffed appropriately and didn’t feel like we were doing the job of three nurses,” Lucia told the Daily Dot.

Many nurses from across the U.S. commented on Lucia’s initial video about the strike and said they were in solidarity with New York nurses.

“#Solidarity from #CaliforniaNurses!” @maureenduganrn commented.

“Cheering you on from [Tennessee]!” @karathebabynurse commented.

Others commented on the widespread nature of nurses’ dissatisfaction with working conditions, like being overworked or being asked to work while having COVID.

“This is going on in virtually every hospital,” @pizzapartypizzaz commented. “Things really have to change.”

“We literally all need to walk out,” @nkat428 wrote.

“People need to feel the fear of what if they had a medical emergency and no nurses,” @mommyspell commented.

The Daily Dot reached out to NYSNA, New York Presbyterian, and Montefiore Medical Center via email.

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Source: https://www.dailydot.com/irl/general-nurse-strike/