BUFFALO, NY — After 10 months of negotiating, the New York State Nurses Association and Erie County Medical Center have ratified a new five year contract.

NYSNA said this contract boosts pay 23% over its lifetime, installs weapons screening technology at public entrances, includes a nurse apprenticeship program, and promises extra pay when the hospital does not meet appropriate staffing ratios.

"Safe staffing, as cliché as it sounds, it saves lives and it's huge. And people need to get behind each other," said Lona DeNisco, an emergency department nurse with 20 years of experience.

What You Need To Know

  • This contract addresses staffing, safety, wages, and recruitment

  • NYSNA represents more than 1,300 ECMC nurses

  • It includes a nurse apprenticeship program

The hospital’s president and CEO Thomas J. Quatroche Jr., PhD, said in a statement:

"In addition to ensuring our ECMC nurses get competitively compensated for this complex nursing care, this new contract further acknowledges their steadfast determination over the past three years to provide hope and healing to the residents of Western New York during the most challenging periods of the COVID-19 pandemic."

DeNisco said she hopes the persistence of the NYSNA to fight for better conditions to provide quality care will set a precedent for future nurses.

"Our members are very vocal and we had a lot of support," DeNisco said. "I'm so proud to be part of that because we're not only changing the facility, but we're changing the scope of nursing as a whole."