Irate nurses fighting for their job security struck a last-minute deal that prevented another public protest in front of Long Island College Hospital — but another round of negotiations looms on the horizon as the financially flatlining institution completes its merger with SUNY Downstate Medical Center.
The sticking point of negotiations between LICH and the nurses union was language that ensured job security in the event of a merger — in this case with SUNY Downstate, a hospital in Flatbush, which pulled LICH back from the brink of financial woe earlier this year.
“We fought for language that said that if the employer has a merger then the nurses’ jobs are protected — that they couldn’t fire half the nurses when the merger goes through,” said union spokeswoman Randi Hoffman.
The hospital administration agreed to that language at 6 pm on Wednesday night — only hours before the nurses were to take to the streets the next morning.
Last February, the nurses marched in front of the hospital at Atlantic Avenue and Hicks Street protesting the very same issue over contractual language pertaining to job security, only weeks after the merger was announced.
That time, the parties reached an agreement that lasted only six months, leading to Thursday’s near-protest.
Now, the nurses and the hospital are likely to sign another contract that lasts only three months — setting the stage for another round of negotiations in the near future.
“We’re hoping the next contract will be more agreeable,” Hoffman said.
A spokeswoman for LICH did not get back to us.