Rochester General Hospital shares plan for when nurses go on strike

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Rochester General Hospital is sharing more information about their contingency plan for when their nurses go on strike.

In a letter shared with the community, RGH says nurses will be on strike from 7 a.m. Thursday through 7 a.m. Saturday.

RGH says that, despite the strike, they will maintain normal hours and anyone who has an appointment scheduled should show up for that appointment. The emergency department will also continue operating. RGH says it’s contracted with an agency to hire hundreds of replacement nurses. RGH didn’t name that agency.

RGH and its nurses have been negotiating a new contract since October. Here is the full letter from RGH:

“As the health system that provides care to half the population of Rochester, Rochester Regional Health (RRH) helps with critical needs in ways only a not-for-profit provider can. We support those in need regardless of their ability to pay – providing over $265 million in uncompensated care in 2022 alone.”

“We do this despite the fact that we and other hospitals and health systems around the country face significant staffing and financial challenges due to the lingering effects of COVID-19. In 2022, RRH lost money — $145 million – for the first time in our 10-year history and is projecting a $150 million loss this fiscal year.”

“Another challenge involves our flagship hospital, Rochester General Hospital (RGH), which has been in ongoing negotiations with the Rochester Union of Nurses and Allied Professionals (RUNAP). Since October, RGH has participated in more than 15 bargaining sessions with RUNAP as we work to reach a good contract for our nurses, patients, the community, and the hospital.”

“Despite making progress in the negotiations, RUNAP’s leadership has decided to strike from 7:00 AM Thursday, August 3, through 7:00 AM Saturday, August 5. This disappointing decision could hurt our nurses, the hospital, and the community. We don’t want a strike, and don’t believe anything we have done at the bargaining table warrants a strike.”

“While we hope our nurses will continue coming to work and caring for their patients, RGH is fully prepared to continue providing the highest quality care and uninterrupted access for our patients and the community. Patients with scheduled procedures, tests, or exams at RGH should plan on showing up as scheduled, and anyone who needs to use RGH’s Emergency Department should do so as well.”

“If the strike occurs, RGH will maintain regular business hours and has contracted a nationally respected agency to hire hundreds of replacement nurses who have been carefully screened, selected, and trained on RGH’s systems and protocols. All replacement nurses meet or exceed licensing and credentialing requirements.”

“We are confident in their clinical expertise and ability to work alongside our nurse leadership, physicians, and all other staff and service providers to deliver outstanding patient care. We will continue to bargain in good faith to avoid this strike. We believe contract issues are best settled at the bargaining table, and we remain committed to transparent and collaborative negotiations to reach a fair agreement. To the members of our community, most of all, we want you to have confidence that you will continue to receive excellent care at RGH or any of our care delivery sites.”